The Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board and The Chamber hosted Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel on Friday, July 10 at Northampton Community College, Fowler Family Southside Center.
Secretary Wetzel reported that in PA there are 26 institutions with 50,756 inmates at a cost of $102.10 per day/$37,267 per year for every inmate with a recidivism rate of 60%! This is one out of every 212 people in PA!
He reviewed programs in effect to address the root causes of the high recidivism rate, noting that 50% lack a high school diploma; 70% have substance abuse issues, and over 20% have mental health diagnoses. Addressing these problems through education, treating addiction, and mental health issues is a top priority for his Administration. “We are being strategic about the vocational education we are providing, focusing on training programs in areas where there are workforce gaps throughout Pennsylvania”.
The Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Northampton County, the Chamber and the Society For Human Resource Management partnered on a $500,000 proposal to the U.S. Department of Labor called Linking to Employment Activities Pre-Release (LEAP) to decrease the recidivism rate by providing job readiness services through PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley for inmates while incarcerated at Northampton County jail.
I greatly appreciate your support as we continue the discuss the impact of the re-entry of ex-offenders into our community.
For more information on benefits for employers who hire ex-offenders, please call