New program aimed toward reducing recidivism in Shelby County

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 6:25 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Inside the Shelby County Division of Corrections facility, you’ll find over 60 inmates separating and repackaging hangers.

These efforts are part of a new program aimed at reducing recidivism.

“We were approached by TRICOR, asking if we would be interested in participating in such a program,” said facility director Anthony Alexander.

Alexander says the hanger recycling program began in April.

“Ninety-five percent of the men that you see working in this program will return to the community at some point. It’s important that we find meaningful employment for these individuals so they will not reoffend and return to incarcerated state,” Alexander said.

Alexander says the recidivism rate is 27 percent, which has remained steady, but lower than the state’s average.

The program offers compensation of $1.25 an hour and a handful of inmates can get fork lift training. Inmate Travis Watson says he’s gotten his certification.

“I feel highly blessed because the program is teaching me a lot of things that I didn’t know, and it’s opening a lot of doors for me,” Watson said.

Watson says as a repeat offender, being part of the program has changed his mind.

“Thanks to TRICOR, when I get out now, like I said, I have my fork lift certification. I can go straight to work and I can make good money thanks to TRICOR once again. They really have got me ready for society,” Watson said.

Once inmates are released, they will have a mentor that will stick with them for three years and offer them resume and job placement assistance.

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