Prison inmates are locked up in an institution for months or years at a time, strictly forbidden to leave the premises. The irony is, almost half of parolees in New York City are homeless upon their release.Fortunately, the nonprofit organization The Fortune Society is available to provide free housing to over 300 parolees each year to help them get back on their feet. The organization knows that for a former prisoner to integrate into society, he needs a lot of help, which the government is often reluctant to provide. The Fortune Society’s staff and volunteers include a number of former prisoners, who are well attuned to the difficulties of adjusting to life after prison.To make things easier on the former prisoners, The Fortune Society offers a broad network of social services, including housing, free HIV/AIDS care and substance abuse treatment, counseling, education, and career development. In some cases, The Fortune Society is even able to work with the court system to prevent convicted defendants from going to prison in the first place, providing them with alternative educational and counseling programs to rehabilitate them. In 2006 alone, this program saved New York City more than $6.5 million that would have otherwise been spent on jail costs.How you can help: By helping to ensure prisoners get a second chance, you can help to create a stronger community, and reduce the risk of former convicts going back to jail. Make a donation to The Fortune Society through Razoo.