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Study: job program keeps ex-cons out of jail

Researchers in San Diego say job training for ex-cons could relieve overcrowding in state prisons because it keeps parolees from returning to jail. A recent Cal State San Marcos study finds a local work-readiness program successfully motivates parolees who participate. KPBS Radio's Andrew Phelps has more.

Second Chance, a homeless outreach organization, commissioned the study on its Prisoner Re-entry Employment Program, or PREP. The program enrolls inmates as soon as they're released from jail. Then houses them, trains them, and helps them find jobs. The study shows PREP participants are 57 percent less likely to commit new crimes and go back to jail. Second Chance founder Scott Silverman says his program is a cheaper alternative to building new prisons. He says 11,000 inmates are released into San Diego County each year, and most of them end up back in jail.

Silverman: "That vicious cycle in my opinion is what's costing the state of California billions and billions of dollars."

The three-year Cal State study says PREP significantly boosts confidence and reduces depression in participants. For KPBS, I'm Andrew Phelps.

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