Project HOPE offers second chance

MGN Online
MGN Online

Offenders who complete their jail terms often have only 2 choices.  Go back to a life of crime and eventually return to jail, or learn a skill and gain the self-confidence earned by holding a good job.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Kenyen Brown wants to help offenders make the right choice.

His office is again collaborating with Bishop State Community College to host an ex-offender employment workshop on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on the Baker-Gaines campus at 1365 Martin Luther King Junior Avenue in Mobile.  The event is part of Project H.O.P.E. (Helping Offenders Pursue Excellence).

The workshop will give ex-offenders the chance to hear from Brown, Gulf Coast employers and fellow ex-offenders who have successfully obtained and maintained employment.  Applicants will have the opportunity to take part in mock job interviews and critique sessions, learn how to write an effective resume, get tips on the proper ways to resolve workplace disputes and meet with local service providers to learn what free or reduced fee services are available to help them re-enter the community.

An Ex-Offender Only Job Fair will be held at the Baker-Gaines campus of Bishop State on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 from 1 to 4:00 p.m.  Employers like Ingalls Shipbuilding, Austal Shipbuilding, Horizon Shipbuilding and H&S Management and Holdings will interview prospective employees.

Brown said, “Just in the Southern District of Alabama alone, in the federal system, between the years of 2008-2010, 328 ex-offenders were revoked for violating the terms of their supervised release and sent back to prison. The cost to the American taxpayer to incarcerate those 328 ex-offenders over that three year period amounted to $9.2 million annually. If these same 328 ex-offenders had been successful on supervised release it would have only cost the American taxpayer roughly $1.3 million. Project H.O.P.E. is a restorative initiative with the aim of giving ex-offenders a chance to become good citizens while simultaneously affording the greater community with the opportunity to enjoy safer neighborhoods in which to live and a lesser tax burden”.

“Statistics compiled by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington D.C., indicate that ex-offender employment is a critical factor in whether recently released federal inmates are successful. Of the 262,000 federal prisoners that were released from federal prison between calendar years 2002-2006, 50% of those who could not secure any employment during the time of their supervised release (generally two-to-five years) committed a new crime or violated the terms of their release and were sent back to prison. However, an astonishing 93% of those who were able to secure employment during the entirety of their supervised release were able to successfully reintegrate back into society and not return to prison,” said Brown.

For more information on how to volunteer as a mock interviewer or critique resumès at the Employment Workshop, or participate in the Job Fair as an employer, please contact Eric Day at 251-415-7120 or Eric.Day@usdoj.gov. Both the Ex-offender Employment Workshop and the Ex-Offender Only Job Fair are open to both State and Federal Ex-offenders and to those who are, and are not, under a term of supervised release or probation.

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