The Turning Leaf Project, a program to help repeat offenders rejoin society and avoid returning to crime, opened its new facility on Monday.

The project is the brainchild of Amy Barch, who started Turning Leaf as a jail-based program that relies in part on cognitive behavior modification. With its new facility, people who go through the program are paid to take classes and provided a job for the duration with the city of Charleston. U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel, Police Chief Greg Mullen and Mayor Joe Riley lauded the program as visionary and a much-needed answer to prison time.

“There are people whose moral compass has been destroyed and they are on a path of complete destruction,” Riley said. “With a comprehensive initiative they are turned around and given hope and a job opportunity. Their lives are totally changed.”