Six Dallas Inmates Receive Freedom for the Holidays

The inmates are accused of non-violent crimes, organizers say

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Some inmates in Dallas received the gift of freedom for the holidays.

They were bonded out of jail Thursday thanks to the kindness of strangers.

Outside the Dallas County jail, hours before Christmas, a group of volunteers with the non-profit Faith In Texas waited, and watched every face that walked out the doors – hoping they matched the mugshots they were holding.

Mark Walters is a leader in a faith-based organization that focuses on social justice.

“I don't think that's fair to broad stroke this entire population,” Walters said sitting outside the Lew Sterrett Justice Center.

Hours before our interview, he was helping count about $35,000 dollars in bail money for six inmates being held at the Justice Center.

The money was donated to the organization's Luke 4:18 Bail Fund, which Walters organizes.

“People shouldn't have to sit in jail just because they can't afford to pay bail,” Walters said.

Mark says the inmates are all accused of non-violent crimes and vetted.

“I mean, if you have a simple drug possession, I don't see you as a threat to society,” Walters said.

A couple of hours after posting bond, the wait for both sides ended.

Willie McNealy had been locked up exactly three months.

“I thank god and I thank everybody for these people right here,” McNealy said, choking up.

“I didn't expect it at first. I didn't believe it,” said Robin Wilks.

Wilks had been in jail since around Halloween.

Both men are accused of similar crimes.

“Theft of property -- running out of Walmart,” Wilks said.

“I'm accused of theft. I didn't do it, but my past caught up with me,” McNealy said.

It’s a past they say they're ready to leave there, and on Christmas, focus on their future.

For McNealy, freedom begins with a bus ride to see family in Oak Cliff, and a vow to remain free.

“I’m not coming back here. I'm not coming back here ever again,” McNealy said.

Faith In Texas also helps set them up with housing, food, transportation -- and a little bit of money.

Contact Us