Program trains people who are about to leave prison so they can find employment

José de la Torre said that receiving training to join society, after 15 years of being in jail, has helped him greatly.

The 34-year-old man says he got his freedom in July 2019. Five and a half months before leaving, he joined a program of
reintegration, which is offered to inmates who have 2 to 19 months of sentence left.

“There you learn to work and you become more responsible,” said de la Torre, who, after leaving prison, continued in New Roads to Second Chances — a program that connects the previously imprisoned Angels with training, support and employment opportunities.

The program began in 2017 when Mayor Eric Garcetti's Office of Reintegration received a three-year, $ 8.9 million contract from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to help stabilize more than 1,300 men and women previously incarcerated.

The program provides them with temporary employment, job training and other resources that lead to career paths.

The nonprofit organization Chrysalis, which helps low-income and homeless people find and retain jobs, was selected to administer the program.

36 more months of help

Luckily for many, Garcetti announced Thursday that a $ 10 million grant from Caltrans was received to extend the program for three years.

The mayor said that Los Angeles is a place to which everyone belongs and that the different entities will continue working to create opportunities for anyone who is ready to give back to their community.

"Nobody needs a second chance more urgently than our previously imprisoned sisters and brothers and New Roads to Second Chances gives people the opportunity to rebuild their lives through the dignity of work," Garcetti said this week at a press conference. .

Through the New Roads program, each participant is eligible to receive up to 90 business days paid on a Caltrans team.

Beyond joining these cleaning teams, participants work with case managers in Chrysalis to help them develop a resume, participate in work preparation classes, complete practice interviews and access everything — from computers and professional attire to Funds for scholarships and transportation assistance.

While working for New Roads, participants develop skills that allow them to transition to full-time employment and long-term self-reliance.

Since the beginning of the program, New Roads teams have collected 606,811 road and highway trash bags throughout Los Angeles County, helping to clean and beautify public places.

Mayor Eric Garcetti (d) with José de la Torre (i), who says he is happy to work and get ahead.

"We know that African Americans and other people of color are disproportionately represented in our criminal justice system," said Councilor Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

“It is important that these people have support services and opportunities to thrive after incarceration. New Roads provides thousands of opportunities for men and women seeking to establish themselves in the city and join their communities. ”

Mark Loranger, president and CEO of Chrysalis, said that for people trying to overcome the challenges of wanting to secure employment after leaving the prison system, a transition job gives them the opportunity to return to work quickly, earn a salary and develop or improve your skills.

“The job results for this program are impressive. But one of the most incredible things I've seen happen during the first years of this program is how members work and grow together as a team. ”

De la Torre agrees and says that if it hadn't been for the program, he wouldn't know what his life would be like after jail.

"The best thing is that the program helps both people who have been in jail for a few months and those who have many, like more than 20 years to receive training," said de la Torre. "They help you a lot."

The Latino mentioned that for now he already has a job in pesticide control and struggles to thrive with the support of his family.

"I feel very happy to be able to move forward," said de la Torre.


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