Workforce Development

Prisoner Reentry Report: Employment and Training Recommendations Included

The New Jersey Reentry Services Commission (NJRC) today released a report which urges the Department of Labor and Workforce Development identify market employment needs appropriate for  former prisoners who are looking for work after serving their sentences.

The 101-page report also marks the importance of developing partnerships with community colleges, vocational schools and the Department of Corrections. And it urges “behind the wall” pre-apprenticeship training programs as well as expanded access to courses in the community working with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

“The recommendations in this report will help reduce recidivism and help people better transition to the community and workplace after serving their time,” Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., president and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, said. “Job-training and gainful employment are key components to successful re-entry programs. Low-level and low-risk offenders can be and should be trained for in-demand jobs in the workforce, including skilled trades. There are best practices for this and companies who participate in successfully helping these folks re-enter society can reward themselves, as well as the people they’re moving from social services and into valued employment.”

Titled “Barriers, Best Practices, and Action Items for Improving Reentry Services,” the complete report includes a series of recommendations surrounding “best practices” for those returning to civilian life after having been incarcerated in areas ranging from addiction treatment and healthcare, to legal needs and housing, for example.

The 101-page report’s four co-chairs – including former Governor Jim McGreevey – comment, “As Co Chairs, we express our gratitude to Senate President Sweeney and Speaker Coughlin for commissioning the report. It is our hope that Governor Murphy, the New Jersey State Legislature, and the New Jersey State Supreme Court read this well cited document in an effort to more fully appreciate the burdens and challenges of reentering persons, as well as the possibilities to practically improve upon the status quo.”

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