State Program Gives $2,400 To Prison Inmates Upon Release

( – A new program in California designed to help ease the transition from prison to regular society to reduce recidivism will be paying out $2,400 to former inmates. The program, which is the first of its kind in California, will also offer job search assistance, counseling, and other support to former inmates as well.

The payments will be sent in installments after specific milestones are reached. Recipients will need to make progress in adjusting to life outside prison, such as finding a place to live and trying to find a job. This will be demonstrated by meeting with a job coach, creating a budget, opening a bank account, and taking steps toward earning a certificate or industry credit that will help them land a job.

The program is being run by the Center for Employment Opportunities. The pilot program was made possible by a nearly $7 million grant from the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB). About $2 million of the money from the program will go towards direct payments to former inmates.

According to the Center for Employment Opportunities, about 60% of former inmates remain unemployed for the first year they are out of prison. Samuel Schaeffer, the head of the Center for Employment Opportunities, said the first six months an inmate is out of prison is the riskiest time, as that is when they are most likely to re-offend.

While hopes are high for the program, some are wary, including Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey, who has noted that the program does not have a measurable way to track the progress of former inmates in the program. While he said he applauds any attempt to reduce recidivism, he also wants to make sure that taxpayers are getting their money’s worth from the incentive.

A bill that provides money to former inmates to aid transition back to the real world was passed earlier this year in Washington, though the amount of money paid out to former inmates is only $300.

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