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September 14, 2006

CONTACT: Steve Tompkins
(617) 961-6650


Boston – Since taking office in 2002, Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral has been committed to reducing offender recidivism, offering job readiness courses and support to all inmates at the South Bay House of Correction. Now, through a partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development Division of Apprentice Training, those inmates will have an even better chance for success when they re–enter society.

Director of the Division of Apprentice Training John Rich has certified the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department as a sponsor of apprentice training. The certification allows inmates enrolled in vocational training through the Common Ground Institute (CGI) re–entry program to earn apprenticeship credits while incarcerated. The ability to receive apprentice training gives offenders a significant advantage when searching for jobs after release.

“I’ve worked with people who help offenders with re–entry in the past and knew that the offenders were receiving training,” said Rich. “The problem was that the offenders didn’t have credentials. Correctional facilities issue their own certificates for completed training, but there are only so many employers who will accept them.”

Brought together by Rodney Dailey, the Job Placement Specialist for CGI graduates, Rich worked with John D’Amore, Director of Vocational Education at the House of Correction, to review the curriculum for CGI and found that the training meets the standards required by the Division of Apprentice Training.

“The training at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department is definitely equal to training offered at programs outside the institution,” Rich said.

According to Rich, becoming an apprentice requires a minimum of 150 hours of classroom instruction and 2,000 hours of on–the–job training. CGI, developed by Sheriff Cabral in 2005, is a ten–week course that offers both. Students receive instruction in the areas of carpentry, building maintenance, painting, and landscaping, and then use their training through the Community Works Program (CWP). Jobs performed by CWP range from painting schools during vacation and building shelves for libraries, to maintaining the landscapes at area parks, providing students with valuable work experience. Because CGI students are trained in several trades, they have more opportunities for continued training and employment once they are released.

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department is the first correctional agency in Massachusetts to become certified as a sponsor of apprenticeship, but Rich is reaching out to others across the state. Sheriff Cabral is happy to be working with the Division of Apprentice Training to help offenders find employment and avoid returning to crime to support themselves and their families, and hopes other correctional facilities will do the same.

“The Department of Workforce Development and the Division of Apprentice Training offer excellent opportunities to those in need of employment,” Sheriff Cabral said. “I’m very excited that the Division of Apprentice Training has certified the Sheriff’s Department as an apprenticeship sponsor and look forward to using apprenticeship training as a tool to reduce offender recidivism.”

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