Jail to jobs, Mayor Bottoms announces new reentry program

(Source: WGCL)

With 100 days in office under her belt, Atlanta's Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is unveiling a new program to assist prison inmates with finding jobs.

The program is part of the Mayor's Criminal Justice Reform Platform, which allows non-violent inmates in the state prison system to get vocational training behind bars, and them start a job even before they're released.

If it seems like Mayor Bottoms takes her politics personally, she does.

"And I can tell you that I stand here as the mayor of this city because of second chances."

While her father, Major Lance, was a famous singer he was also a victim of addiction back in a time when there was no opioid sympathy just jail.

"And the struggles that my dad had and his imprisonment and the impact it had on my and my brothers and sisters, and also on our family as a whole for our family as I shared throughout the course of the campaign, it really was the death of our family."

And that's why this week the mayor announced a new reentry program designed to help inmates get city jobs and a new start in life.

"These are city employees who will have benefits and more importantly they'll have a paycheck so what does that mean? That means while they're incarcerated they can start paying child support while they're incarcerated they can start paying rent but most importantly when they're released they'll still be city employees."

It's called preparing adult offenders through treatment therapy and training or PAT3.

"These men have an opportunity not just for a job but this is a career pathway."

The first eight participants in the program got a chance to meet the mayor themselves, and have already started working for the Watershed Department.

More than a dozen other inmates are already on deck for the next phase of PAT3, a chance to reverse the hopelessness of prison.

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