[r32] Representatives help men and women transitioning from correctional facilities to workforce (2/6/2012)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Start Date: 2/6/2012
End Date: 2/6/2012
STATEHOUSE- A clothing drive was hosted at the Statehouse last week for men and women who are getting ready to return to the workforce from correctional facilities. State Representatives Eric Turner (R-Cicero), Peggy Welch (D-Bloomington) and Cindy Noe (R-Indianapolis) were among the group of legislators and staff members who participated in the clothing drive.

Rep. Turner and Rep. Welch spearheaded the drive. A bipartisan effort, legislators have been donating dress clothes to the Indiana Department of Correction for the past few years. The Department of Correction will be distributing the donated men’s clothing to the Indianapolis Re-Entry Educational Facility (IREF) and the donated women’s clothing will be given to Indiana Women’s Prison (IWP).

“These men and women are looking to build successful futures, and something as simple as a new suit can help give them the confidence they need to succeed in a job interview,” said Rep. Turner. “We want to do what we can to help these men and women get back on their feet through the donations of business attire. Dressing well for an interview is the first step in getting these men and women jobs, and I am thankful we were able to hold the drive again this year.” 

“As I told my colleagues when they made donations, we will probably never fully realize the impact we have made through this simple gesture,” said Rep. Welch. “These former inmates, who have paid their debt to society, will walk a little taller into a job interview, because they look good and feel good. They will find the confidence that could help them change their lives around.”

IREF offers 14 different programs for inmates to take part in, including training on substance abuse, conflict resolution and fatherhood. Dress for Success, another program offered, provides residents with regular clothes to wear after they leave prison. Clothing donations to Dress for Success are made by businesses, individuals, churches, civic groups etc.

Correctional facilities regularly release prisoners with a few dollars and a single change of clothes. Now, through the Dress for Success program, they have been able to release them with more clothing, in order to make a smooth transition back into the workforce.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this drive where we can help break down walls that hinder inmates from finding jobs and get back on their feet,” said Rep. Noe. “Indiana is taking steps to get Hoosiers back to work, and for these people, a suit and tie are valuable tools they can use in finding a job and starting fresh.”

The IREF facility always welcomes clothing donations for the inmates. Business attire is especially appreciated, but clothing that could be used for other types of jobs is also welcome.

To make a donation, contact IREF Superintendent Beckie Bennett by calling (317) 639-2671. 

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Rep. P. Eric Turner serves as Speaker Pro Tem and represents District 32 which includes parts of Grant, Miami, Tipton, Howard, and Hamilton Counties.