A Texas program attempts to stop the prison revolving door by teaching inmates how to get jobs, reports the Dallas Morning News. Project RIO (for re-integration of offenders) is a state program that started in 1985 in Dallas and Houston and spread through the state prison system by 1993. Inmates are coached on the nitty-gritty of employment, including how to conduct a job interview and how to dress. “If they want to work and make an honest living, we are here to help them,” said Carter MacKenzie, chief executive of a Lubbock job placement agency that works with Project RIO.
About 600,000 prisoners are released each year, and two-thirds are back behind bars within three years. from custody nationwide each year. Project RIO cuts recidivism about 17 percent, according to a 2000 study by the Criminal Justice Policy Council of Texas for the Texas Workforce Commission, the project’s administrator.