Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Labor’s blog. See the original post here.
Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez meets with inmates at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Boyds, MD on July 28, 2014 who are getting employment services on-site as they prepare for release. The grants awarded today will help improve job opportunities for thousands of other inmates across the country.
For so many people going through the criminal justice system, it can be hard to get back on their feet after they walk out of the prison house door. But if you’ve paid your debt to society, there’s no reason you should be further sentenced upon your release to dead ends, closed doors and economic hopelessness. Successful reentry isn’t just important for formerly incarcerated individuals themselves; it matters to their communities and our entire society.
Until very recently, the assumption was we could build our way to public safety — spending millions and millions of taxpayer dollars on fences and barbed wire. But at the end of the day, 95 percent of those we locked up were returning home worse off than before. We’re finally getting smarter on crime, recognizing that not every tool in your arsenal has to be a hammer.
We can’t just lock people up; we also have to unlock their potential.
That’s what we aim to do with our new grants for the Face Forward and Training to Work programs. We’re investing a total of $59 million to offer critical employment and training services, like career counseling, support services, resume help and job search assistance.