Colorado Senate bill might allow former prisoners $3K to restart life

Colorado State Senator James Coleman is aware that many Coloradans are facing difficult circumstances especially if they were convicted of a crime and completed their sentence.

“There’s a real high possibility of them being able to go back on the streets and come right back into the prison because they don’t have the resources they need,” he was quoted as saying by CBS News Colorado.

That is why he, along with State Sen. Julie Gonzales, State Reps. Mary Young, and Javier Mabrey, all Democrats, have presented Senate Bill 24-012, which would establish a prison reintegration pilot program that would provide up to $3,000 for basic living expenses to eligible inmates exiting jail.

Colorado Senate bill might allow former prisoners $3K to restart life

“We want to make sure that we are a state that supports individuals getting back on their feet once they come out of prison,” Coleman said.

Coleman claims it is also an opportunity to save the state money.

“It costs almost $50,000 per year to incarcerate one person in the prison behind me. “If we can give them $3,000 to help them get back on their feet, we’ll save $47,000,” Coleman explained.

And he claims data proves it works.

“If you look across the country where programs like this exist, make it possible for them to have a 90% transition back into the workforce when they get out of prison,” he added.

Not everyone would be qualified to receive the payouts. Following their release, the candidate would be required to enroll in workforce services or training programs. Coleman claims that those who would qualify have paid their debt to society, and he would rather see them contribute to our state than turn to crime to support themselves.

“Colorado’s about redemption,” said Coleman. “As much as we’re looking to invest in our children, as much as we’re looking to invest in our elders, we also want to make sure that folks who are coming out of prison have an opportunity for redemption and success as well.”

Currently, if you are incarcerated in Colorado and are released, you will receive $100 to help you start your life, and Coleman reports that the recidivism rate in Colorado is 50%. He believes that $3,000 for basic essentials will assist in reducing that amount.

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