Every one of New York City’s estimated 8,500 inmates sentenced to time in city jails will leave with guaranteed, minimum-wage, short-term jobs likes cooks, restaurant bussers, or construction flaggers under a policy announced Wednesday by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The aim is to reduce recidivism, de Blasio said. In promoting the $10 million program, de Blasio’s office cited research showing recently released inmates who get short-term jobs are 22 percent less likely to reoffend. De Blasio said his administration did not anticipate trouble finding the temporary jobs for any inmate, which can last up to eight weeks.
Jails commissioner Joe Ponte said the program — to be in place by the end of the year — will apply to inmates no matter what crime they’ve committed, as well as people who are on the sex offender registry.
Under the jails-to-jobs program, a departing inmate will also be paired with a “peer navigator” to help provide a measure of stability. De Blasio also announced that jailed inmates will be provided with “re-entry counseling” beginning on their first day behind bars. Inmates facing possible prison sentences are not eligible for the program.
Also Wednesday, de Blasio said for the first time that he would be willing to meet with Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham, the unarmed teen shot dead by an NYPD cop in 2012. The police officer who fired at Graham, Richard Haste, quit the force earlier this week after finding out he’d be fired.
De Blasio had refused to meet with Malcolm, despite her demands, saying that doing so would be inappropriate while Haste’s case was pending. The mayor said Wednesday he would meet with her but only if she promised not to ask about the investigation of two other cops in connection with Graham’s shooting.
In a statement, Malcolm said: “The mayor and police commissioner know how to reach me, so I don’t know why I keep having to learn of things in the press instead of them reaching out directly to me.”