Preparing prisoners for employment after they're released is no easy job, and it's not cheap. But a lot of smart people in both the justice and workforce development systems are talking about finding solutions. After all, some 600,000 prisoners will be released from U.S. prisons this year. Where will they go? What will they do?
In Wisconsin, some of them will become dental lab technicians.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal reported last week about a three year-old program that is training women at Taycheedah Correctional Institution as dental lab techs. It's a joint venture between the state's Department of Corrections, Department of Workforce Development and Moraine Park Technical College. Women are being prepared for skilled jobs in high demand when they're released. Their skills are also put to use making dentures for current inmates.
Taycheedah warden Cathy Jess tells the paper,
So that's important that they get a job skill, and we prepare them for that day that they step back out there. We all want them to be successful when they get out there because they're going to be our neighbors.
Trainee and inmate Amber Haviland sees it this way:
It breaks up the monotony and the tedium of the day because everything's the same thing every day. It helps you expand your horizons.
To read the full article in the Journal-Sentinal and see photos of the program in action, click here.