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YWCA Delaware launches pilot prison reentry program

James Morrison
Delaware Public Media

YWCA Delaware is holding a series of workshops and seminars for people recently released from prison.

It’s part of a pilot program to help ex-offenders succeed outside prison.

The “Progress After Prison” program offers 12 free workshops in Wilmington to help people overcome barriers they face because of their criminal records.

Matt Pillischer is the director for social and racial justice for YWCA Delaware. He said ex-offenders have trouble finding jobs.

“It just fits with the national trend of employers being scared to work with people have been in prison and are legally allowed to discriminate against them,” he said.

He said they are educating people with criminal records how to get around barriers, like getting employers to take a chance on hiring them.

“It really is very difficult and there’s not a whole lot of solutions and not a whole lot of employers who are actually hiring," Pillscher said. "There are some, but a lot of times people have to figure out how to make their own money, how to do- you know- a business or a side business. And we want to provide them the skills to learn how to do it.”

Pillischer said the workshops in August and September will focus on employment, entrepreneurship and the history of mass incarceration. He said sometimes He notes more people of color and a rising number of women are being disproportionately affected.

The pilot program also features individual mentoring plus two seminars open to the public and law enforcement.

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