Roughly Speaking podcast: Leaving prison, and not going back (episode 213)

Maryland has made some progress in keeping ex-offenders from committing new crimes and going back to prison. Still, four out of 10 former inmates end up back behind the walls within three years of their release. Today, a talk about the challenges of re-entry and what it’s like for inmates coming home.

Elizabeth Morse (3:28), a crime-prevention specialist assigned to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Baltimore, describes the services available to help ex-offenders adjust to life after prison. Morse compiled a new list of government and private-sector agencies that assist adults recently released from state and federal prisons and local jails. The guide contains hundreds of resources with direct links to programs in Baltimore and all Maryland counties.

While some inmates learn skills in prison, few are able to put them to use after they’ve been released. Chester France (31:50) and his volunteers are preparing to establish a job center for inmates who learned how to sew in prison. Their goal: Develop a line of apparel for churches — vestments for ministers, robes for choirs — and put ex-offenders to work making them. The project has been in the planning stages for a few years, and France expects “Lifting Labels” to open in September, under the auspices of a non-profit collaborative, Chill Station-Root of Jesse, and an apparel manufacturer, Fashion Unlimited, in southwest Baltimore.

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