LETTER: We need to do more for former inmates

Daily Freeman-2 years before

A former prison pen pal of mine was recently released after serving his time. I got a letter from him a few months ago. He said he couldn’t get work because of his criminal record. He was living on the streets because the homeless shelter was violent. He lived on $180 a month and ate at shelters and soup kitchens.

Is it any wonder so many end up going back to prison? We have to do a better job, especially for nonviolent offenders.

The state needs to permit, sponsor and support agencies and companies that offer these people a job. Social services would be a great place to ...tart. Many agencies and their participants would benefit from more male employees. Parolees could enter a program that requires supervision, mentorship, even drug testing, but also would allow for education, resume building and experience with a stipend or minimal salary. After a period of six months to a year, those who successfully complete the program could apply for full time regular employment.

This would be a win for the agencies and companies, a win for those who served their time, and a win for the state, which would get a valuable, taxpaying citizen rather than another inmate. And for those in agencies that serve the developmentally disabled, it would be a win for the participants.

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