Christopher Uggen of the University of Minnesota reported that work was “a turning point in the life course of criminals.”
Maryland also has recognized that an ex-offender’s ability to support himself “as soon as possible after release is important to reentry success …”
But, despite this, Maryland now offers only 1 in 10 inmates the opportunity to participate in job-training programs while in state prisons. Maryland’s prison employment program—Maryland Correctional Enterprises—reports a 60% reduction in recidivism for inmates who complete its programs.
The Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform proposes that Maryland use “Justice Reinvestment Funding” to save money by removing low risk inmates from state prisons and to use part of the money saved to expand job training and other job opportunities for ex-offenders.
As discussed above, employment is the single strongest factor needed to prevent new offenses by ex-offenders.
The unmistakable benefits of self-supporting work on ex-offenders have been demonstrated by federal studies, other state’s studies, and in Maryland’s model Montgomery County Pre-Release Center.
MAJR’s proposed legislation would use savings from existing corrections funds
- to expand Maryland Correctional Enterprises—jobs programs for inmates serving time in state prison and
- to support more job placement and “enterprise employers” to provide jobs for inmates in reentry programs, transitioning back into their communities at the end of their prison terms.
This approach will be presented to the Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council for study.
Read about Maryland Correctional Enterprises which should be expanded to offer job-training to more than 1 in 10 inmates.
Read about Montgomery County Pre Release Center’s successful inmate reentry employment program.
The Final Report on Prisoner Re-entry by the Task Force on Prisoner Reentry chaired by Gary Maynard, 2011. This report summarizes a major effort by a large group of prominent individuals who appear to be recommending some of the changes sought in this year’s MAJR legislation. See also the powerpoint slides by DPSCS.
Read about scientific analyses of data from the Rand Corporation regarding inmate education, job training and employment.
There is a lively discussion of the need for this approach: