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Markell discusses need to help former inmates find employment

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Delaware Public Media
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In his latest message, Gov. Jack Markell discussed the need to address the high levels of unemployment among former inmates.

Markell highlighted several efforts to reduce recidivism in the state. He noted the I-ADAPT program, which provides inmates returning to society access to employment services and job training opportunities.

Markell also mentioned efforts to work with businesses willing to employ ex-offenders--the largest single employer of ex-offenders is the hospitality industry. Earlier this year, Department of Correction expanded its culinary training facility. And in partnership with Delaware Tech, they developed a new certificate program.

Markell recently visited graduates from this program, which include members from the Baylor Women’s Correctional Center and the Sussex Community Corrections Center.

“For these graduates, many of whom have been in and out of the criminal justice system and have struggled with addiction and unemployment, this training has given them the first real hope that they can build a career, take care of their families, and chart a new path for their lives," said Markell.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OHmyqSuugE

Full text of weekly message: 

One of the challenges to reducing recidivism across our state and around the country is the need to address the high levels of unemployment experienced by individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system and have completed their sentence of incarceration.  For those individuals, finding and maintaining employment is a persistent barrier to their successful reentry that is difficult to overcome.

That’s why, for example, as part of our I-ADAPT program we’re making sure that inmates who are preparing to return to the streets have access to services from agencies across state government, like the Department of Labor, which connects them to existing employment services that it offers to all citizens.  We’re also taking new steps to help prepare incarcerated individuals with practical employment skills that businesses in the community are looking for, and we’re focusing on industries that are willing to hire workers who may have a criminal record.  Perhaps the biggest single employer of ex-offenders is the hospitality industry, and that’s opening doors for Delawareans who find not only employment, but the opportunity to advance in a meaningful career. 

For several years the Department of Correction has offered culinary training on a limited basis at the Baylor Women’s Correctional Center, but this year that training program has been expanded to work release inmates and others who are incarcerated at the Sussex Community Corrections Center.  Recently I had the opportunity to meet with a dozen women at its recently expanded training facility who have graduated from a new certificate program offered through a partnership with Delaware Tech.

For these graduates, many of whom have been in and out of the criminal justice system and have struggled with addiction and unemployment, this training has given them the first real hope that they can build a career, take care of their families, and chart a new path for their lives. One of the graduates I met, Sandra, has since made the successful transition to the community.  She credits the treatment she has received and her culinary training as the spark that has ignited her renewed passion for cooking, her desire to continue her training, and her confidence that she will succeed in building a new life. 

By helping all Delawareans receive training they can use to build productive law-abiding lives, we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.

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