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Dan Hanneken knows all too well that releasing a person from prison doesn’t free him from the problems, habits and environment that led to incarceration. Before learning that lesson, the assistant teaching professor in the School of Social Work served three sentences as a violent offender. Today, Hanneken, BSW ’06, MSW ’08, not only turns life experiences into teachable moments for social work students but also helps newly released inmates get back on their feet.
In2Action, the residential transition program he founded and directs, provides drug-free housing for up to 50 former offenders at a time on its 4-acre campus in north Columbia. The comprehensive program offers food, clothing, counseling and referrals for other services.
“Housing is only one piece of the puzzle,” Hanneken says. “You can give somebody a job, a car and a place to live, but if they don’t stay clean, they lose everything.”
Hanneken credits his religious faith and his determination never to spend another day behind bars as the sources of his successful transition 19 years ago.
Recognizing Hanneken’s contribution to society, last year Gov. Mike Parson issued him a full pardon, which restores all rights of citizenship forfeited by his convictions.