Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and other top state criminal justice leaders have announced the creation of a $1.1 million program aimed at connecting people leaving prison to jobs that will help them stabilize and avoid committing another crime, reports the Denver Post. Officials hope building a better “prison-to-employment pathway” will reduce recidivism in a state where nearly half of all people leaving prison later return — and simultaneously help employers find workers in a time when many are struggling.
The Department of Corrections will receive $900,000 to build a network of employers who will hire people leaving prison and to provide those employers with support. The department will also receive $200,000 in grants to give to community organizations that help people leaving prison. Nineteen percent of people who left prison in 2017 returned to prison for committing a new crime by 2020 and 26 percent returned for violating conditions of their release, creating a three-year recidivism rate of 45 percent, according to Colorado Division of Criminal Justice statistics.