COVID-19 pandemic presents new challenges for prisoners re-entering society, workforce

Connecticut

(WTNH) — The ongoing pandemic presents new challenges for prisoners entering this new world. Where do they go for help when places are closed? And who do they call?

With cases on the rise and the incarceration rate at an all-time low, there are thousands out there who are not sure how to find housing or jobs.

News 8 spoke with Tara Buccholz, who was released from prison in February. She sent out job applications as thousands were losing their jobs.

She then joined a non-profit run by the Workforce, Inc., which helps people re-entering the workforce. She says they’ve gone virtual along with job fairs across the state and a lot of people released from prison don’t know about these virtual programs.

She says there are Zoom groups for people to meet and touch base on reentering the workforce at Workforce, Inc. platform to employment. She says professionals teach you how to write a resume and interview, and that there are groups like this out there that have gone virtual. Buccholz now works for Something Sweet in New Haven as quality control.

“A closed mouth doesn’t get fed so I ask and if the help is there then it is possible. It’s scary to think that you can work so hard and get so far to have that ripped from underneath you so quickly because of this pandemic,” Buccholz explains.

With another possible wave coming in January, there are some things you need to know when entering back into society if programs have to close.

  • Learn how to write a resume on your own
  • Seek out a local shelter
  • Look into nonprofits like project fresh start or the workforce
  • Ask for help

Every year, thousands of people are released from prison in our state and they rely on programs to find work and start fresh. Without them, individuals are more likely to re-offend.

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