Faith-Based Initiative Program Produces Good Outcomes

( [email protected] ) Feb 22, 2004 05:56 AM EST

WASHINGTON -- Various faith-based organizations are gaining successful result in reducing recidivism rate of inmates and more organizations are expected to receive financial support from the government.

U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced Feb. 20 that Word of Hope Ministries, a comprehensive service program of Milwaukee's Holy Cathedral Church of God in Christ, has received an $875,000 grant, which is part of the Labor Department¡¯s Ready4Work National Initiative, to help prisoners with life transition from the correction facilities to the real world, Newswire reported.

The Labor Department's Ready4Work National Initiative, is a $22.5 million demonstration program that is set up to reduce criminal recidivism rates and help inmates find work when they return to their communities.

With the grant, about 310 offenders will receive help through a program that offers one-on-one counseling.

"This grant will provide intensive case management, job training, education services, comprehensive soft skills training and job placement to ex-offenders, and it will also help local employers find the skilled workers they need," Secretary Chao said. "This is an excellent example of how the President's Faith- Based Initiative and the Labor Department's Center for Faith Based and Community Initiatives can help local organizations bring about a reduction in the number of ex-offenders who return to prison."

Organizations that participate in the national Ready4Work project report on the successful outcomes. The Exodus Transitional Community in East Harlem, N.Y., for example, served 290 ex- offenders in 2003, with just three returning to prison. The City of Memphis Second Chance Program has served more than 1,500 ex- offenders over the last three years, with a recidivism rate of only four.

As the good results emerge, President Bush proposes a four-year, $300 million initiative focusing on reducing recidivism by helping inmates with employment when they return to their communities.

For additional information about the Ready4Work Initiative, visit