The Minnesota Department of Corrections (MnDOC) issued a News Release today saying when employers hire former prisoners they are "contributing to community safety."

The DOC says, "Stable, meaningful employment following incarceration reduces reoffending and improves community safety."

The News Release goes on to state, "Former incarerated people are among the "best trained" employees some Minnesota companies have discovered.

It's no secret there are companies across the state looking for workers.

Data and research over several decades the DOC says, "confirm that when people find stable, meaningful employment upon release from prison they are less likely to reoffend and return to prison."

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and Department of Corrections (DOC) also announced recently a new DEED grant program to help reintegrate justice-involved Minnesotans into the workforce.

"If we truly want safer communities, people coming out of prison must have what they need to live, become and stay employed, and be able to support themselves and their families," Minnesota DOC Commissioner Paul Schnell says.

"Over 95% of those who are in prison today will return to their families and communities.  This is a strategy to help ensure a successful transition to prevent future crime.  That's why we prioritize getting incarcerated men and women the skills, training and education they need to be ready to work on the day they leave prison."

"Minnesota's unemployment rate is the lowest in the nation and Minnesota companies are looking for qualified workers to fill open positions in a variety of fields,"  said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. "Many Minnesota companies have realized that people transitioning back into the community after serving their time are often well-trained and highly silled.  Companies with positions to fill have a real opportunity to help improve community safety in Minnesota while also filling a need they have in their company."

This week DEED will release a Request for Proposals for it's new Pilot Re-Entry Competitive Grant Program.  Authorized by the Legislature and approved by the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Board (MJSP), $3,000,000 is available in Fiscal Years 2023-2024 to help reintegrate justice-involved Minnesotans into the workforce.

Potential grantee organizations including state and local government units, nonprofits, community organizations, and business or labor organizations may request up to $500,000.

The News Release goes on to say, "approximately 2,300 incarcerated adults attend educational classes in Minnesota prisons every day.  Approximately 600 students graduate from career and technical classes and three certification programs."

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