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Prisoners train for jobs after incarceration

Posted at 4:30 PM, Jul 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-10 06:13:59-04

JACKSON, Mich. — Prisoners at the Parnall Correctional Facility are using their time behind bars to prepare for life after incarceration.

It's a one-of-a-kind partnership between DTE and the Michigan Department of Corrections to teach prisoners the tree trimming trade.

"For those who get a job, the recidivism rate is 2%. For those who don't, it's 33%. That's a huge difference," said Gerry Anderson, DTE executive chairman.

When they're released, they'll be able to join a local union that helps DTE keep power lines clear.

"To be able to contribute to the well-being of our families after being a burden to them and hurting them by doing what we did, it's an answered prayer," said Jeff Gunnells who is part of the program.

"We've got a real chance to give people the skills they need to be successful when they leave, and that's good for communities. That's good for a workforce that's desperately looking," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer who was at Parnall Tuesday.

"I actually can't wait to start bringing in those paychecks, but at the same time, just having employment and doing something that's feeling rewarding," said Ansley Harris who is in the program.

The class started with 24 students and almost all of them will have jobs once they go back into the community.

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