Gov. Dannel P. Malloy went to jail in New Haven Wednesday to talk to inmates about getting out, and staying out.
Malloy stopped by the New Haven Correctional Center on Whalley Avenue, where he announced additional state support for a new program to help those who are preparing to re-enter society after imprisonment find jobs. The facility houses prisoners awaiting trial as well as convicts finishing up their terms before being released back into society.
He announced that a new “American Job Center” will open at the Whalley jail coordinated by the Regional Workforce Alliance. With a three-person staff, the center will help 175 inmates with job-training workshops and referrals during the six months before their release.
Only 12 such centers exist across the nation, according to Malloy.
“This is the type of program we need to see expanded throughout the state in the future to continue the process of us having a historically low crime rate and a youth imprisonment rate which is really quite small,” the governor said.
The program will work in tandem with a program run out of City Hall called Project Fresh Start. Malloy recently awarded that program $1 million to work with inmates in the 12 months before they leave prison to start lining up work or housing or deal with substance abuse problems. (Read about that here.)
Bobby Ross (pictured) told the governor during his visit Wednesday that having access to a steady job would make a difference in keeping him out of prison. A truck driver by trade, Ross said that his criminal background barred him from getting jobs even when he pursued additional education.
Ross also said having a place to live after a person is released also is a barrier.
“A lot of people in jail, they don’t got no where to go,” he said.
Malloy said there might be some money for housing, but he acknowledged that there are policy barriers for felons when it comes to public housing that need to be addressed.