Rehabilitation program helps ex-criminals unlock their potential with computers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – As Memphians struggle to come to terms with the tragic events surrounding the death of Eliza Fletcher and a shooting, there has been much talk about the early release program or the need to overhaul the parole system.

But there are programs for convicted felons who have found a way to save lives and protect the community.

Memphian Adrian Delk, 34, admits he had a troubled background and never thought his time behind bars at Hardeman County Correctional Facility would lead him to say jail was his savior .

“In 2013, I was charged with aggravated assault and solicitation of first degree murder,” he said.

Delk says it wasn’t until he was paroled in 2019 that he found an organization in Memphis called Persevere, a nonprofit committed to teaching men and women formerly behind bars a way to unleash their potential through the language of computers.

“So you can build pretty much any website, any app, any interface that deals with user interactions,” Delk said.

Adrian Delk’s story is one of determination.

“It took me seven hearings to get a felony release and I’ve been willing to do something productive with my life from the day I walked out of that barbed wire,” he said.

But he knows the stigma that comes with being a criminal on parole, and like everyone else, he’s heard the outcry over the murder of Eliza Fletcher and her killer, Cleotha Abston-Henderson.

Delk said Abston-Henderson was also housed in Hardeman County and Delk remembers seeing him on occasion.

He also said Abston-Henderson’s actions don’t speak for every person who has been paroled or released.

“And a lot of these guys and women have been paroled and are doing well in life,” Delk said.

About Georgia Duvall

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