New York City plans to give jobs to released inmates

Neftali Thomas Diaz swears he’s done with Rikers Island.

By Tom Hays

After being locked up twice at the notorious New York City jail for stealing a credit card and violating parole, Diaz entered a private jobs program. Once he’s back on his feet with a paycheck, Diaz says, “I know I’m not ever going back there — ever.”

New York City is betting that Diaz and other low-level offenders like him are right about the salvation in second-chance employment.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city will spend $10 million a year on a “jails to jobs” initiative that will guarantee all Rikers inmates serving sentences of a year or less a chance at short-term employment once they do their time. The jobs will last up to eight weeks, with hourly wages covered by taxpayer money rather than coming out of the pocket of the employers.

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