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'Game Changer' CA Inmate Re-Entry Plan Will Pay Ex-Prisoners $2,400

Hundreds of Californians released from prisons could receive direct cash payments of $2,400 along with counseling, job search assistance and other support under a first-in-the-nation program aimed at easing the transition out of custody and reducing recidivism. Recipients will get the money after meeting milestones such as showing progress in finding places to live and work, according to the Center for Employment Opportunities, which runs the program announced this week, the Associated Press reports. The goal is to give people a chance “to cover their most essential needs” like bus fare and food during the crucial early days after exiting incarceration, said Samuel Schaeffer of the national nonprofit that helps those leaving lockups find jobs and achieve financial security.

“The first three to six months are the riskiest, when many people end up back in prison,” Schaeffer said. “We want to take advantage of this moment to immediately connect people with services, with financial support, to avoid recidivism.” The governor’s Workforce Development Board is providing a $6.9 million grant to boost community-based organizations and expand re-entry services. Some $2 million of that will go directly to ex-inmates in the form of cash payments totaling about $2,400 each. The center said the money will be paid incrementally upon reaching milestones including: engaging in employment interview preparation meetings with a jobs coach; making progress toward earning an industry credential or certificate; and creating a budget and opening a bank account. Schaeffer said the new program is a “game changer” and the first of its kind in the nation, one he hopes other states will copy.


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