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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

State hopes job training will cut inmate returns to prison

OLYMPIA – Inmates in Washington’s correctional facilities will get more training at state expense to help them get jobs after they are released.

A bill signed Tuesday calls for community colleges and the state’s correctional institutions to develop more programs to provide inmates with associate degrees that will help them enter the workforce. Inmates who don’t already have a postsecondary degree, and who have five years or less before their release will be given priority.

Those who don’t meet those criteria will be required to pay the costs of participating in any program, and inmates who are facing life in prison without parole, or the death penalty, will not be eligible for the state-funded education programs.

Gov. Jay Inslee called it a “far-sighted bill” that will reduce recidivism by putting former inmates to work in legitimate jobs, helping to keep them from returning the criminal activity.