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New initiative aims to lower recidivism rates by increasing hiring for formerly incarcerated people

Fencing surrounds the Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center operated by the Colorado Department of Corrections, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in east Denver.
David Zalubowski
Fencing surrounds the Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center operated by the Colorado Department of Corrections. Attorney General Phil Weiser recently unveiled a new initiative to simultaneously combat Colorado's high recidivism rate and worker shortage.

Each year, more than 8,500 people are released from Colorado state prisons after serving their sentence. According to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, nearly half of the people released return to prison within three years for various reasons. And that figure means that Colorado’s got one of the highest rates of recidivism in the country.

Happening alongside that is the ongoing worker shortage across the state. State leaders are hearing a lot of concern from business owners, many of whom are having trouble finding people to fill job openings.

Last week, Attorney General Phil Weiser unveiled a new $1.1 million initiative with the intention of helping both of these issues. The new public/private initiative will invest into reentry services and develop a network of employers willing to hire those who are recently released.

The Colorado Sun's Tatiana Flowers joined Colorado Edition to talk about the new initiative and its potential to reduce recidivism.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
I host and produce KUNC’s in-depth, regional newsmagazine Colorado Edition, which has me searching across our state for peculiar and impactful stories to bring to listeners, always with a focus on empowering the people who hear our show and speaking through them to our guests. I am also a big nerd about field recording and audio editing, my dedication to which I hope serves our listeners who care about audio as much as I do.