Two states selected to develop strategies for employing people with criminal records

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Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were recently chosen by the National Reentry Resource Center to receive assistance in developing smart strategies to help people with criminal records find employment.

As researchers have found, gaining employment is a key step for many in maintaining a crime-free life following a criminal conviction. Yet finding employment is often a challenge, mired by many employers’ fear of hiring someone with a criminal past.

As John Wetzel, the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, states: “Ask a person in prison or jail to name the most important thing they need to succeed in the community when they’re released. The response will almost always be the same: ‘I need a job.” Wetzel continued: “It’s these data-driven strategies that will allow us to further our collaborative efforts, strengthen our reentry process and ensure those leaving prison or jail become productive, tax-paying citizens.”

The NRRC is a project of the Council of State Governments and will provide technical assistance in creating comprehensive plans in Philadelphia and Milwaukee counties that encourage collaboration between correction agencies and workforce development partners.

GEO Reentry Services partners with several counties in Pennsylvania to provide parolee and probationer reentry assistance following a statewide initiative to reduce recidivism and prison overcrowding while maintaining public safety.

GEO Reentry is committed to helping participants successfully reenter their communities. In addition to behavioral therapy, our reentry programs emphasize participants returning to school or finding employment.

Participants have reported that jobs have helped them to feel productive and useful to their families and help them stay stabilized within their communities.

To read more about GEO Reentry’s approach to reentry programming, click here.