Editorial: Second chances

By The TimesLedger

For the ex-offender, a man or woman who has served time in a city jail or state prison, one of the biggest hurdles on the way to a productive life is getting a job. Even offenders who have job skills must deal with the inevitable question on every job application: “Have you ever been arrested or have you been convicted of committing a crime?”

Success on the “outside” depends largely on finding a job. But employers are understandably wary of hiring a convicted felon. It is for this reason that we value organizations such as the Osborne Association in Long Island City.

The Osborne Association reaches out to ex-offenders at the point when they are most vulnerable and at greatest risk of committing new crimes that will land them back behind bars. It helps offenders to explain that they made some bad decisions but they are determined now to make something of their lives. The association also helps its clients deal with the bad habits that got them in trouble in the first place, while teaching the vocational skills and life skills that they will need in the job market.

Such services are more than worth the investment of public funds. It costs a fortune to keep an adult in prison or jail. It costs only a fraction of that to provide the kind of transitional support offered by organizations such as the Osborne Association.

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