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Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pictured with Matthew Cate, Secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)
Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, the Workforce Investment Board & the Community Development Department Promote the Importance of Ex-Offender Resources During 2008 Los Angeles Employer Forum
Event highlights significant role employment preparation plays in reducing recidivism rates
Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa joined forces with the Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and the Community Development Department (CDD) to support the 2008 Los Angeles Employer Forum presented by the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) on October 21, 2008. Highlighting the importance of expanded employment preparation and job opportunities for ex-offenders, the symposium provided an opportunity for business leaders, City officials, and community members to discuss the value of rehabilitation through workforce development.
“It’s important for the state, county, and the city to give people a second chance,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “A job gives them respect and a sense of belonging. This is about turning lives around.”
Statistics show an increase in the California prison population from 72,000 in 1994 to 172,000 in 2008. That’s why CALPIA heightened efforts to provide vocational training for inmates, allowing offenders to become positive contributors to society upon release. “My main priority is training inmates to become responsible employees when they return,” said Charles Patillo, General Manager of CALPIA. “None of these folks want to go back to prison. Our program has reduced recidivism rates by 25 percent.”
One third of the California Prison population hails from Los Angeles County, and most offenders return to the communities in which they committed crime. In promoting the societal benefits of employing ex-offenders, forum speakers stressed the importance of building stronger communities by implementing an approach that simultaneously punishes criminals but does not eternally stigmatize them upon their release.
“We want to hold people accountable,” said Villaraigosa. “But once they serve their time, they deserve another chance. We’ve all got to do this and there will be great community benefits.”
The WIB supports CALPIA principles by overseeing CDD-supervised WorkSource Centers throughout Los Angeles that offer employment services to ex-offenders. To learn more visit www.lacity.org/wib or call 311 to find a local WorkSource Center.