A plan by Senator Chuck Weaver to help soon-to-be-released inmates find jobs to keep them from returning to jail or prison was approved by a unanimous vote of the Senate March 6.
Senate Bill 156 directs the Director of Corrections and the Secretary of Innovation and Technology to implement a system that permits prisoners to access specific and approved job search and career building websites before the inmates are released from the Department of Corrections institution or facility.
“Prisoners who have served their time need an opportunity to prepare, and to get some life skills before they get out,” Senator Weaver said. “What we want to do is provide inmates limited computer access to approved job search websites to help them see what jobs are available.”
Senator Weaver says Senate Bill 156 was requested by a re-entry facility in Peoria and the Kewanee Life Skills Re-Entry Center.
“I was contacted by these re-entry facilities about prisoners who are ready to get out and go forward, but do not have the ability to get on computers and search for jobs,” Weaver said. “With today’s technology, applications are also done on-line.”
The 37th District Senator said any program that helps keep inmates from returning to prison also protects the public.
“Every time one of our inmates gets out, then ends up back in prison, there is a victim associated with that. We are doing what we can to see these prisoners don’t go back into the correctional system, and that someone isn’t injured in the process,” Senator Weaver said. “Getting these inmates back to work is one of the most effective ways to make sure that happens.”
Approved by a 59-0 vote, Senate Bill 156 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.