Thursday, September 10, 2009

Travis County sponsors in-jail job fair

I'm particularly pleased to see this story about an in-jail job fair sponsored by a religious nonprofit in cooperation with Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton. What an excellent idea! Reported the Statesman ("In the county jail, inmates look for a job," Sept. 10):

About 150 men and women out of the facility's 2,300 made their way around tables staffed by prospective employers, including the City of Austin, the Travis County Human Resources Management Department , Goodwill, Easter Seals, Titus Electric Co. and Iron Lion.

The job fair is one of a variety of job preparation programs launched by Lucy Borrego, the social services program coordinator for the sheriff's department, Hamilton said. Inmates can take classes to learn to prepare a resume and to interview for a job, he said. After 20 years in law enforcement, Hamilton said, he knows that reducing recidivism by inmates requires more than teaching them to fill out an application.

"We need to be talking about re-entry for these people," Hamilton said as inmates gathered brochures and fliers. "We live in a society where some parts of the community want to lock the door and throw away the key; at the same time, they don't want to pay for new prisons. We would be derelict if we didn't try to help individuals try to be successful so they don't come back to us."


Anonymous said...

An outstanding, smart, innovative, positive, thoughtful and proactive Sheriff’s Department is apparently hard at work in Travis County.

Stuff like this makes me want to watch an old re-run of Andy and Barney doing it the old fashion way.

It would have been worth a trillion dollars if a couple of oil companies could have been there looking for a few thousand employees.

Maybe Sheriff Hamilton should consider running for President; he could appoint Lucy Borrego to be a Czar or an Ambassador of good will or Knight her, or maybe he might just roll up his sleeves and tell the Senate and Congress this is why you folks got elected to office and I expect to see everyone here on time tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.

Who knows somebody who is actually thinking of ways to solve problems might make them shake hands and insist that they all work together because they don’t serve Texan’s and Californian’s and New Yorker’s and Nebraskan’s, he might just tell them that they serve the American people.

Hamilton for President, “There’s a new Sheriff in town” I think it has a pretty good ring to it.

Anonymous said...

A few frequent fliers in jail take up a large proportion of bed days and cost a fortune. These folks may have very limited potential for stable employment. However, frequent fliers are not the majority of those who end up in jail and most of these folks have a strong potential for stable employment if given a chance to demonstrate that they can be good employees.

In-Prison Job Fairs are not uncommon and help link residents with potential employers. What is uncommon is an In-Jail Job Fair. This is visionary and recognizes that people can and do change but they often need a helping hand - to overcome the barriers that a criminal record present when formerly incarcerated people try to rebuild their lives.

Sheriff Hamilton is a wise and prudent public official who recognizes that this population needs a helping hand in rebuilding their lives.

This is terrific to see in Texas and provides a model of what can be done for other Counties.

Mark #1 said...

I am amazed. It looks like the people of Travis County have found some true public servants. I can imagine the hilarity the good ole boys in Harris County would derive from such a suggestion, however.

Karo said...

Dang why didn't someone think of this 50 years ago!

Karo said...

Actually part of the problem with excessive pre-trial jail is keeping people there tends to get them fired from their existing job...

Jennie Noon said...

What a crock! Like the city or county will hire someone who has been in jail. The really sad part is that if you can't back a background check they won't hire you. Be realistic - offer more incentives for companies to hire people who have served their time. Quit making them serve time for the rest of their life!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Jennie is right. While there are a lot of hugs and kisses for this move, the proof is in the pudding. Just how many ex-cons are going to be hired by the city - or anyone else for that matter? In this job market who is going to hire an ex-con over someone without a record? If you have two similar applicants and one has something as simple as a DWI (which can't be deferred or expunged) who gets the call? It'll be interesting to see if anyone bothers to trumpet the actual results of this plan - since that might not be quite as satisfying as being called "smart and innovative" for just spending tax dollars.

I've got a plan to raise the self-esteem of Travis County inmates through deep-breathing exercises and self-realization techniques. All I need is the same budget used for this job fair and I'll even throw in a Yanni CD for every student.


Gritsforbreakfast said...

FWIW Jennie and Sugarbear, the county last year passed a "ban the box" measure. where they no longer ask about criminal history on the front end of the hiring process. (The city has made noise in that regard but I don't believe they've acted on it yet.) And both Goodwill and the Iron Lion group are obviously employing people.

Clearly everybody who sends reps to that job fair knows what kind of employees they're soliciting. Why would they go if nobody intended to hire? Most inmates have jobs when they go to jail and it's harmful to public safety if they can't get employment when they leave.

Anonymous said...

Your friendly neighborhood bondsman agrees with grits. (100%)

Padmanaban said...

Hi, if you need to succeed in life you have to improve your skills to a maximum level. There are lots of jobs in Noida, and one can get placed with high salary. Interested persons can visit and utilize the opportunities.