July 1, 2016

RI Delegation Announces $500K for Providence-Cranston Partnership to Reduce Recidivism

Federal grant to provide employment services for transitioning offenders

Providence, RI – Rhode Island’s federal delegation today announced a $499,672 federal grant to support a new partnership between the cities of Providence and Cranston and the correctional system to connect transitioning offenders with services to help them find employment and re-enter the community.

“I am pleased that Providence and Cranston are taking the lead and working with the federal government to create new opportunities for people who have served their time and need help getting a new job and a fresh start.  The goal of this federal funding is to save taxpayer money in the long run by reducing recidivism and promoting successful reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals,” said Senator Jack Reed.

“Those who have paid their debt to society should have an opportunity to successfully transition to the workforce,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, an author of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, which would allow qualifying inmates to earn reduced sentences through recidivism reduction programs.  “I commend the cities of Providence and Cranston for their commitment to ensuring those who are transitioning out of the correctional system have the skills to secure a job and become productive members of our community.”

The Providence/Cranston Workforce Development Board (PCWDB) will use the U.S. Department of Labor grant to launch the RHODES to Employment Program.  The RHODES to Employment Program will provide work readiness, career counseling, employment, education, and case management services for soon-to-be-released individuals at the Adult Correctional Institution (ACI).

“This exciting partnership will reduce recidivism and help transform our communities,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “Offenders who have served their time deserve a second chance.  This program will put them on a path to success while investing in our economy and ultimately reducing crime across Rhode Island.”

“This critical funding will support a key partnership between Providence and Cranston to help ex-offenders become contributing members of society,” said Congressman David Cicilline. “Programs like the RHODES to Employment have been proven to help reduce recidivism and boost our economy by training and linking participants to employers.”

After participants are released, the RHODES to Employment Program will enable them to continue the same programs and services at other locations in the community.  The program is a partnership between the PCWDB, Greater Rhode Island Workforce Development, Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.  About 120 participants will be selected for the program based on their need for work readiness training, a prime indicator for re-offending. 

“Helping inmates transition to working life reduces recidivism, helps our economy, and is the right thing to do,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo, whose $500,000 proposal for a pilot transitional employment program for approximately 75 ex-offenders was included in the just-enacted Fiscal Year 2017 state budget.  “I congratulate Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston for its successful grant application, applaud our Congressional Delegation for their support, and look forward to continue working with all stakeholders to address the employment and life challenges faced by the 3,000 Rhode Islanders a year who reenter the community from prison.”

The more than 600,000 people released from federal and state prisons annually, along with the millions more leaving county and local jails, are at particular risk of falling into a cycle of poverty, crime, and incarceration, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.  The funding is part of $64.5 million in grants announced by the Department of Labor to reduce recidivism and promote reintegration of formerly-incarcerated individuals.

“Many former inmates of the ACI are returning to communities and neighborhoods in Providence,” said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “Providing these individuals with important occupational and employment skills is crucial for their reintegration into employment and reducing recidivism. Strong, vibrant communities are built upon the full participation into civic life of all our residents. These resources will go a long way in helping returning inmates overcome significant barriers to employment.”

“The City of Cranston has a longstanding commitment to helping all members of our community who require assistance with workforce training and identifying quality job prospects for trainees,” said Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.  “The Providence/Cranston Workforce Development Board has a proven record of success working with training providers and community partners to match local residents with meaningful employment opportunities.  My administration will continue to grow the local economy and I am pleased to have additional support for the Cranston Providence workforce partnership to help get as many people as possible to work.”

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