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Arizona awarded federal grant to assist reformed prisoners

Commuters walk past an office building on the way to a metro station at the end of the work day. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona was one of 24 states recently awarded a portion of $2.23 million for Fidelity Bonding Demonstration Grants.

According to a press release by the U.S. Department of Labor, the state received $100,000 last Thursday, which will help those coming out of the justice system to secure employment.

The grant is part of President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to enhance the criminal justice system. In December 2018, Trump signed the First Step Act, an act that is committed to assist prisoners reduce their risk of becoming reincarnated.

Most recently, the department hosted an event, Strengthening America’s Workforce, on April 1 to discuss opportunities for Americans making the transition from the prison system back into the workforce. U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexandra Acosta participated on a panel at the event that discussed the challenges those face as they attempt to reenter the workforce from the justice system.

“Today’s event is a reminder that the successful transition into the workforce is a positive step for both individuals and communities,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexandra Acosta said at the event.

Established in 1966 by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal Bonding Program issues employers free-of-charge bonds to hire high-risk  individuals who face barriers when it comes to maintaining employment. Employers who participate in the program are eligible to receive up to $5,000 per bond to cover the first six-months of an individuals employment.

The bonds protect employers from dishonest acts by bonded employees such as theft, embezzlement, larceny, and forgery. Additionally, the bonds can be applied to any full-time or part time job in any state.

According to the program’s website, 606 individuals received 774 bonds last year alone. Throughout the program’s history, there have been 52,000 job placements thanks to the initiative.

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