Dalton parole organization used as state model

Roy Keeler had treated prisons like a revolving door since he was a teenager.

But when granted parole in July 2008 after serving 31/2 years of a 20-year sentence on burglary and drug charges, Keeler, 37, reported to the Dalton Parole Office and realized he needed to change.

At the Dalton office, instead of feeling like a name on a list to be scratched off by officials, he was welcomed into a group whose leaders also had been through prison and understood his challenges, he said.

"In prison you know what you got to do, when you got to do it," he said. "Once you get out, you have all this time on your hands, so it's real easy to get right back in [to prison]."

BY THE NUMBERS* 210: Parolees released to the Dalton Parole Office in 2010* 71: Percentage completing the parole program since it was created in 2007* 66: Percentage completing the parole program before 2007Source: Dalton Parole Office

Now a program hailed for making the Dalton parole office successful is being eyed by the state as a model for other parole offices, starting in Macon, Ga.