JOBS for FELONS – Re-entry

Angelina County commissioners on Tuesday approved a partnership that will help former inmates find jobs once they are released from prison.

Each year, more than 70,000 inmates are released from prison, according to Reggie Cotton, a Nacogdoches County commissioner who attended Tuesday’s meeting. Of those, about 30,000 will need help finding a job, Cotton said.

Cotton outlined a program already in use in Nacogdoches County that provides former inmates with assistance in finding work. Through the Nacogdoches County Reentry Program, officers help teach former inmates how to fill out applications, create resumes and dress for interviews, while providing them with mentoring that boosts their self-esteem.  Eventually, the program would be used in a four-county area that includes Angelina County.

“People just need somebody to be there,” Cotton said.

Cottrell McGowan, director of the Nacogdoches County Reentry Program, said he first thought of such a system during a visit to a New Orleans prison.

“That was the first time I’ve ever seen grown men cry,” McGowan said. “They had skills, but no one would hire them because they’ve been in prison.”

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