WASHINGTON/PRNEWSIRE - The National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) launched Project Rebound, a criminal justice reform program designed to help former offenders find employment and avoid going back to prison.
Project Rebound will educate the small business community about in-custody employment training programs and connect released offenders with employers willing to give them a second chance.
With criminal justice reform now a bipartisan focus, the need for Project Rebound has never been greater. More than 600,000 people are released annually from state and federal prisons in the United States, and they often face negative perceptions upon returning to the community.
"Incarceration and subsequent recidivism unfortunately continue to impact our community," explained Larry D. Ivory, chair of NBCC. "This has been a big focus for us for quite some time, and we hope to work toward the common goal of reducing the risk of reoffending."
Research shows that employment is essential in avoiding recidivism rates.
"Our vision for Project Rebound is to create community awareness of the need for rehabilitation," said Harry C. Alford, president and CEO of NBCC. "We need to have compassion for those who stray away from law and order, and bring them back into the fold to make sure that our society is the best society it can be."
Speaking about his experience at the South Bay Correctional Facility in Florida, available at ProjectRebound.org, Alford said he was inspired to pursue the Project Rebound initiative after seeing the facility's caring, collaborative atmosphere and focus on vocational training programs.
The GEO Group, which operates South Bay, created the award-winning "Continuum of Care" program to help inmates re-enter society through academic, vocational and cognitive behavioral programming, coupled with post-release support services, which include assistance with housing, employment, and transportation, among other needs.
Project Rebound seeks to reduce the stigma of hiring ex-offenders by educating employers about successful rehabilitation programs like the Continuum of Care and others operated by governments, non-profits, and for-profit companies.
Visit ProjectRebound.org for more information.