The Mike Durfee State Prison in South Dakota is taking the next step in helping individuals in the criminal justice system find jobs after their release. The medium-security penitentiary held its second prison job fair introducing 325 individuals to 15 employers.
Individuals in the criminal justice system 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 individuals in the criminal justice system and the community writ large.
The prison job fair provides individuals in the criminal justice system with an important connection to employers for life outside of prison. In addition, individuals are able to hone their job interviewing skills. As a result, South Dakota is moving in the right direction to keep recidivism rates down.