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Little Rock group gets $1.2 million to help ex-prisoners re-enter society

By Kally Patz

This article was published August 1, 2017 at 4:12 p.m.



The U.S. Department of Labor gave $1.2 million to fund a re-entry program for prisoners, Little Rock said in a news release Tuesday.

The Little Rock Workforce Development Board was given the money to establish the Rock City Reentry Program, which is is part of the Little Rock for Life campaign announced last month by Mayor Mark Stodola in a response to a mass shooting at a nightclub that left 28 injured.

The money will create a network of services and training sites to help 150 adults re-enter society, the release stated.

Arkansas has one of the fastest-growing prison populations in the country, in part because so many prisoners commit new crimes after their release, the city said. The program hopes to end that cycle by providing newly released prisoners with counseling, mentorship and training in new fields.

In the release, Dobbie Brown, who participates in another Little Rock re-entry program, said he is now working at Interstate Signways at the Little Rock Port Authority.

“You can break the chain by keeping programs like this alive and making them grow,” he was quoted as saying. “A lot of people just need a chance after they mess up and do their time and come home. You just need a chance.”

The project is one of 23 across the country receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. The department announced its plan to spend $72 million on employment opportunities for "justice-involved individuals" in June.

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