Ex-convicts often find it very difficult to secure jobs. This difficulty in nailing a job forces them to return to a life of crime. The government however is determined to fight recidivism by providing jobs to ex-prisoners. And a lot of Jails to Jobs programs have been set up in this regard.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed to set up a $10 million per year jails to jobs initiative. This Jails to Jobs program will help inmates released from Rikers Island to secure short-term jobs.
But, this will only be open to ex-inmates serving a sentence of one year or less and who have served out their time. The ex-prisoners will be able to work for up to eight weeks.
They will be paid on an hourly basis by the government, and not by their direct employers.
Benefits of Jails to Jobs programs
Research analysts say the government spends up to $200,000 annually to house a prisoner in prison. This cost will revert back to government coffers if fewer people go to jail. The ultimate objective of jail-to-job initiatives is to keep people out of prisons.
Another benefit of jail-to-job programs (Read About Released) is that it equips former prisoners with the tools needed to secure employments. These tools include how to write resumes, search for employers, manage interviews, and keep down jobs.
These Jails to Jobs initiatives teach ex-prisoners how to access hidden job markets and how to utilize certain resources to better their chances.
The initiative is voluntary to Rikers prisoners who have served their time. About 8,500 ex-convicts will benefit from the program every year in various occupations. It is termed a “transitional employment” to keep ex-prisoners up and running and away from prisons.
“Transitional employment often leads to longer-term employment and, again, an opportunity to have counseling, peer mentoring along the way,” Mayor de Blasio said.
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Jail to Jobs Initiative Will Kick Off By the End of the Year
Jail to jobs programs according to Mayor de Blasio’s proposal will ultimately replace Rikers Island. Shutting down Rikers Island might take years to happen, but jail to jobs program will provide employment remedies. It is expected that the program will kick off towards the end of this year.
Out of the $10 million annual budget set aside for jail to jobs initiative, $7 million will be to pay the hourly wages of the ex-convicts. Two million dollars is for tuition support and $800,000 to settle peer navigators.