Prominent Dallas pastor and businessman T.D. Jakes joined forces with AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson last Wednesday to encourage business leaders to hire formerly incarcerated people.
“If a guy gets out of prison and he can’t get a place to stay because every application locks him out of a rental, much less ownership, he can’t get a loan and he can’t get a job, where else can he go except back to prison?” Jakes said at a fundraiser for the Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative.
The 12-month T.O.R.I., founded by Jakes in 2005, gives returning citizens a second chance at life and provides them with solutions to the many barriers they face upon release from prison.
Statistics from the National Institute of Justice show that within three years of release, about 67.8 percent of released prisoners were rearrested. Within five years of release, the recidivism increases to 76.6 percent. Among rearrested persons, more than half were arrested by the end of their first year out of prison.
For most of the 23,000 graduates of Jake’s T.O.R.I., however, the picture is much more promising with a recidivism rate of just 11 percent.
Speaking at the Potter’s House in Dallas, Jakes and Stephenson sought to persuade a 900-person audience from North Texas businesses, government agencies and nonprofits to consider hiring formerly incarcerated people, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Stephenson said AT&T had hired about a dozen people who were formerly incarcerated to work at a Richardson call center as part of a pilot program he plans to expand to other cities.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair