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Gov. Doug Ducey praises jobs program during prison visit

Aug 15, 2017, 4:43 AM | Updated: 1:25 pm

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey greets prisoners at the Lewis Prison in Buckeye, Ariz. during a visit to di...

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey greets prisoners at the Lewis Prison in Buckeye, Ariz. during a visit to discuss a jobs program. (KTAR Photo/Kathy Cline)

(KTAR Photo/Kathy Cline)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Monday that he was very pleased with the results of a job program designed to cut recidivism rates during a visit to one of the state’s prisons.

“This is just one of a number of efforts we’re undertaking to help people make real, lasting change so they never end up back in prison,” Ducey said Monday during a tour of the Sunrise Employment Center inside the Lewis Prison in Buckeye.

The employment center offers inmates help with interviews, resumes, job searches and more. Since opening in March, 120 inmates have completed the program, 55 inmates have started employment and 88 more were participating.

“You can build a bright future for yourself,” Ducey told inmates. “Arizona has not given up on you. I have not given up on you. And you must never give up on yourselves. There are people you do not know and have never met who want to help you.”

Larry Reddin, a recruiter for an ironworks union, said the program was a good way for inmates to get back on their feet after they leave prison.

“Everybody makes mistakes. The mistakes [the inmates have] made, they’ve paid for, he said. “When they come to me, I don’t care what they’ve done. All I care is what they do today and what they do tomorrow.”

Thomas Regalado, an inmate in the program, said it gives him something to look forward to when he is released.

“I first came into prison when I was 20 years old. I’ve been in and out of prison six times,” he said. “I’ve never had an opportunity like this. I have some hope.

“My mother and sister passed away in 2014 when I was in prison. That was the only family I had. Now, I have to be a man and make a life for myself.”

Regalado said he’d like to try telecommunications work when he’s released in September.

Two other facilities — Tucson Prison and Perryville Prison — also have employment centers.

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Gov. Doug Ducey praises jobs program during prison visit