Several Sacramento Community leaders met with employers Tuesday morning to encourage them to hire former inmates.
The California Prison Authority, The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency along with other associations gathered to encourage business owners to hire former offenders.
“Why not take the most qualified candidate? At the California Prison Authority we train 8 thousand employees per year behind the walls,” said Michele Kane, PIO for the California Prison Industry Authority.
“Ninety-five percent of offenders are going to be on our streets. They are going to be released from prison whether we like it or not. They’re going to be out there and they’re going to be needing work,” said Kane.
Kane says businesses that hire former offenders can be eligible for tax breaks and can also help the state. She says on average, each inmate costs 60 thousand dollars each year.
Kenyatta Leal is an example of potential success a former inmate can have. At age 44, he began working at a San Francisco technology company called Rocketspace.
“There’s a misconception about people who are incarcerated,” Leal said.
Leal spent 19 years in San Quentin Prison. He recognizes that doors haven’t opened for other prisoners and says change starts with changing attitudes.
“I think that there’s a general thought that people getting out are just going to get out and commit more crimes but that’s not the case,” said Leal.