Attorney General Eric Holder and Labor Secretary Tom Perez visited a detention center in Montgomery County, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C., to see how prisoners are prepared to re-enter the workforce, NPR reports. “Coaches” report to the center a few days each week to help inmates create resumes, browse through job listings and connect with schools. “I firmly believe that one of the most effective strategies to keep our communities safe is to make sure when people get out of jail, they have a job,” Perez says.
The Labor Department has 2,700 American job centers across the U.S., but only a few are in jails. The Labor Department and Justice Department are launching a new program to bring the job centers to 10 more sites. Holder says inmates who participate in these programs have lower rates of recidivism and the old way of doing things doesn’t work. He said, “I think for too long we’ve thought that we can take people out of negative situations with all kinds of deficits, warehouse them and then put them right back in the places that they came from and somehow expect a different result.” Holder and Perez met privately with a couple of inmates nearing release. One of them, Paul, served 16 months for armed robbery and second-degree assault. He says the coaches were “persistent in coaxing me to go back to school.” He is now checking out “careers such as graphic design, web development.”