NEW JERSEY – Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco and Senator Holly Schepisi that provides employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals was approved by the Senate Labor Committee.
“It can be extremely difficult for people to find the jobs they need to become self-supporting after serving their time and being released from prison,” said Bucco (R-25). “We know that the combination of a criminal record and a lack of job training results in significant barriers to employment for former prisoners, which increases the likelihood that someone will become a repeat offender. The Second Chance Program will address this unfortunate reality by connecting formerly incarcerated individuals with employment opportunities to help them become contributing members to society.”
Numerous studies from the U.S. Department of Justice have highlighted the difficulties that former inmates have with retaining positions of employment after serving time in prison. According to a 2021 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 60% of formerly incarcerated people who were released in 2010 were jobless over a four-year period.
Sen. Bucco and Sen. Schepisi’s bill, S-3680, establishes the Second Chance Program within the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The department will be instructed to work in consultation with labor organizations to provide viable career opportunities for New Jerseyans recently released from prison.
The State Employment and Training Commission would be responsible for directing the program with the goal of reducing recidivism throughout the state.
“The Second Chance Program will serve as a vehicle to deliver purpose and honest work to individuals who may otherwise struggle to find work opportunities after leaving prison,” said Schepisi (R-39). “By connecting those who are re-entering society with long-lasting and meaningful opportunities for employment, this program will provide a second chance to individuals who have served their time to succeed.”