Most employers don’t like giving hand-outs, but there’s nothing wrong with a little help up.
On Wednesday, Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh, along with Community Treatment Centers, Focus: HOPE and Kelly Services, held an “offender only” job fair at Detroit's historic East Lake Church. More than 3,000 people registered for over 200 available jobs.
Since Pugh took office in 2010, he has sought to expand opportunities for convicted felons, including the removal of the question, "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?" on job applications. He believes any step toward more equal job opportunities could be a key factor in helping to reduce unemployment.
"That group (ex-convicts) has difficulties finding jobs," Pugh said in an interview with Detroit Public Radio on Thursday. "A lot of times, folks who come out [of jail] and get roadblock after roadblock and door[s] closed, they give up. And some of them re-commit crimes because they feel that's their only option."
Since 2007, Michigan Department of Corrections' numbers show that parolees have been returning to prison 33 percent less frequently. The state has credited the decrease to increased opportunities in helping former offenders find employment. Additionally, with fewer people returning to prison, less state funding will be spent on housing the former inmates.
Detroit is not the only city to host fairs for ex-offenders, however. Cleveland, New Hampshire and El Paso are among other cities which have held similar fairs.
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