Program Helps Parolees Find Work

(WLNS) – The governor signed bills to help those on parole find work. He says for those who’ve served time behind bars finding a job is key to successful re-entry into the community.

6 News Nick Perreault has more on how parolees might qualify for an employment certificate and join the workforce.

Inmates will qualify for this certificate by completing three tasks, having a clean record their last two years serving, have a positive score on a work readiness test and complete a vocational program.

All of which the Department of Corrections hopes will reduce the number of people who revisit prison and save the state some money, it costs about $30,000 a year to house an inmate.

“Parolees probably always have that stigma attached to them.”

A stigma of being a convicted felon and doubt if a business can trust a convicted felon out on parole.

“In January 2010, I robbed a QD.”

After spending four years in prison, including time at Jackson’s Cooper Street Correctional Facility, Clinton Mcfarland says it’s been hard finding work.

“I understand why employers feel the way they do somewhat, but not everybody is in that mold,” said Clinton Mcfarland, parolee.

Mcfarland says his time spent snapped him back into reality, even earning his GED while he was in and completed substance abuse programs.

“I even got hired to start on Monday at 9 in the morning and he said, well we ran your record and we’ll have to go the other way.”

“They’re going to have this employability certificate so that they have some level of indication that this person has gone through the steps to get the education,” said Chris Gautz, PIO, Michigan Department of Corrections.

Governor Snyder’s signature Thursday means those who qualify will now have a certificate to take to employers. In return employers can’t use their history against them during the job licensing process.

“I think that’s great, I think that’s what needs to be done, there are thousands of parolees like myself that do not want any part of that life anymore.”

With that certificate, Department of Corrections and Mcfarland hope that will cut down on those that re-enter the prison system

“I want to feel like a man too, I’m paying taxes, a part of society and I can provide for my family.”

Provide for his fiancée and kids and contribute to society.

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