Today Governor Mike Pence, Indiana Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Scott B. Sanders and Indiana Department of Corrections Commissioner Bruce Lemmon gathered to commemorate the successful first year of the Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry program, a cooperative effort between DWD, IDOC and Hoosier businesses to educate, train and job-match soon to be released inmates. The program started in April of last year and, to date, more than 600 Hoosier ex-offenders have been hired by over 200 participating Indiana employers.
“We want Indiana to be the worst place to commit a crime and the best place to get a second chance after you’ve served your time,” said Gov. Pence. “We are proud of the H.I.R.E. program’s efforts to help ex-offenders become self-sustaining, responsible adults with the financial means to take care of themselves and their families, and we applaud the companies that have helped ex-offenders get that second chance.”
Each year nearly 20,000 ex-offenders are released from Indiana prisons. About 36 percent of these return to prison within three years. The rate increases to 60 percent if the individual remains unemployed. The approximate cost to house an inmate in Indiana is $20,000 per year, while the average time served is 7.8 years. Since its inception last year, the positive effect of HIRE on the Hoosier economy is estimated to be over $8 million.
“I am very pleased by the early success and tangible taxpayer savings Indiana has experienced in the first year of the H.I.R.E. program,” said Scott B. Sanders, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. “This was a small pilot program started with little funding just last year and Hoosiers are already receiving quite a return on their investment.”
“Gainful employment is critical to an offender’s successful re-entry to the community. The H.I.R.E. program will undoubtedly provide offenders a second chance to become contributing members of society and reduce their risk of returning to prison,” said IDOC Commissioner Bruce Lemmon. “The partnership between the IDOC and DWD is an excellent example of the positive outcomes from State Agencies working collaboratively to address key issues affecting Indiana.”
Source: Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Inside INdiana Business