Malloy announces new program in New Haven to reduce prison recidivism

New Haven Register December 28, 2015

By Ryan Flynn

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy looked from one face to the next as he sat surrounded by four inmates at New Haven Community Correctional Center. “Each one of you has a good story to tell and a bad story to tell. People think they know the bad story,” Malloy said.

Malloy’s visit Wednesday was to announce creation of an American Job Center at the jail, in an effort to reduce recidivism, which occurs when someone convicted of a crime relapses into old criminal behavior. The center is slated to open early next year. Federally funded, the American Job Center would provide job training over a period of 18 months to approximately 175 inmates who are near the end of their sentences. Run by the non-profit Workforce Alliance, the center would focus on inmates who will be discharged to New Haven and surrounding communities. It would be the first of its kind in the state and one of only 12 in the nation, according to Malloy.

Along with referrals to community partners, the job center, which will be staffed by four people, will provide pre-employment and job interview preparation, career assessments, workshops, help with job applications and resume writing and computer training.

Malloy said there are two ends to the recidivism issue: heading off criminal activity before it happens and providing support and second chances to convicts upon their release. “We’ve got to develop a society that’s a little more forgiving and you’ve got to fly right,” Malloy told the inmates.

Each of the inmates shared their stories with Malloy. Bobby Ross, 54, from Bloomfield, outlined his difficulty finding work in the past. Malloy referred to Ross as a “gentle giant.” The governor asked the youngest of the foursome, 21-year-old Bradley Demoliere, if this was his first stint behind bars. “First and last,” Demoliere said. The American Job Center is part of Malloy’s Second Chance Society initiatives.

Malloy was joined Wednesday by Warden Jose Feliciano and Department of Correction Commissioner Scott Semple. “You can all be home next Christmas,” Malloy told the four inmates, “if you can get out and stay out.” The New Haven Community Correctional Center, located at 245 Whalley Ave., primarily houses offenders who have been arraigned but await trial. As of Dec. 22, the facility housed 503 un-sentenced prisoners and 192 sentenced prisoners, according to numbers provided by the correction center.

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