City passes $318k measure to help ex-offenders find jobs

    8:02 PM, Jun 18, 2013   |    comments
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    (Photo: Thinkstock)
     PDF Document: 2013 Reentry Services Resolution

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The city of Little Rock passed a measure that would give $318,000 to organizations which help ex-offenders find jobs on Tuesday.

    "The department of correction gives them a hundred dollars and a pat on the back and says, 'Hey good luck, and don't ever commit anymore crimes,' and we know that we've run about a 45 percent recidivism rate," said Mayor Mark Stodola of Little Rock.

    The money will come from the sales tax and would go to organizations like The Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, Our House and the Quality Living Center.

    "When you're an ex-offender, and you are on a job search, there is a different level of stress that goes along with that job search," said Michelle Allen with Our House.

    Allen said she works with ex-offenders on developing positive attitudes.

    "It's hard for a person to find a job especially when he's done time in prison or (has) a few charges," said Jason Otis, an ex-offender and client of Our House.

    Otis said a drug charge from 2005 has made it difficult to find employment.

    "This is a good place to come if you want to upgrade your education and get back on track," said Otis.

    Mayor Stodola said when ex-offenders are unemployed, it becomes a community safety problem.

    "I get emails and calls from people all the time who have been burglarized and want to know why police can't do something about it. Well the police are doing something about it. They're arresting and re-arresting," said Mayor Stodola.

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