We have a system here in America that sets up ex-inmates to fail. It’s not designed to help them and make sure they never end up back in prison. If anything, it’s designed to make sure they are repeat offenders.
But the Beaverton Bakery in Oregon is trying to change all that. They hire and train ex-offenders as part of their Second Chance Program, and since the initiative was started 10 years ago, it has hired more than 200 formerly incarcerated individuals.
Last week, the owner of the store Carrie Ann Schubert was honored at the White House as one of 10 Champions of Change. Carrie revealed she’s so passionate about this program because of the shocking statistics, which show that 68% of released prisoners were arrested for a new crime within three years.
“We make them feel like they’re part of the community and a lot of these [participants] haven’t had that experience. A lot of people weren’t even given that first chance, much less a second chance.”
During the program, participants not only learn about baking, but they also gain life skills while making a living. The staff at the bakery even helps those in the program find housing after they get out of halfway houses. And there is no time limit on their employment. They can work at the bakery for as long as they want.
Schubert admits one of the most important things about this project is to be flexible with the schedule, so the participants can work on their own programs they must complete after being released from prison.
But she also makes it clear that staying clean is a requirement, “It’s definitely a clean and sober program,” she revealed before adding that if she finds out about any substance abuse, the participant must leave the program.
Schubert plans to expand the program in the future by adding different kinds of training.
Images via: The Huffington Post