The Mike Durfee State Prison in South Dakota is taking the next step in helping inmates find jobs after their release. The medium-security penitentiary held its second prison job fair introducing 325 inmates to 15 employers.
Inmates are engaged in vocation programs while incarcerated and are eager to work. Employers at the fair have been challenged to fill open positions. Thus they were very receptive. The prison’s vocation program includes welding, construction technology, auto mechanics, auto body restoration, and horticulture.
Research from the 2013 RAND meta‐analysis shows that individuals who release from prison with employment related vocational education have a 28% higher chance of success. Finding employment after release has a tremendous positive impact on inmates and the community writ large.
The prison job fair provides inmates with an important connection to employers for life outside of prison. In addition, the inmates are able to hone their job interviewing skills. As a result, South Dakota is moving in the right direction to keep recidivism rates down.