Bridgeport, Conn. (June 26, 2015) – Background: Today, Bridgeport-based organization The WorkPlace Inc. announced that its receiving $2.4 million in federal grants to improve opportunities for adults and youths who have been in prison or involved with the criminal justice system to get into the workforce (Click here to read more: http://bit.ly/1Jawfmb). In response, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch issued the following statement:
“This is great news for Bridgeport. As the mayor of our state’s largest city, every single day I see people who are suffering after serving their time due to a failure to set them up for success when re-entering our community. That’s why I’ve fought hard to remedy this problem. As a State Senator, I sponsored legislation, which was signed into law, that gives those convicted of felony crimes the ability to vote after serving time.
“As mayor, I put into place a ban-the-box policy in order to give those who have served their time a fair shot at good paying jobs, setting them up for success. And, working with the re-entry community, we’ve been able to ensure more people re-entering our community have good paying jobs, which has helped lead to a significant decrease in unemployment and crime.
“To be clear: I believe people must be punished for the crimes they commit, including those convicted of drug use or possession. But after serving time, I believe we need to ensure that we’re setting people up for success when re-entering our community. That means ensuring access to good paying jobs that help them get back on their feet and live successful lives. And that’s exactly what the WorkPlace Inc. is focused on and what these funds will go towards, helping those who have been in the criminal justice system get the tools necessary to compete for good paying jobs.”