Bill Hughes presented two things to us at the last meeting: 1) a Career Commitment Discovery Tool named "Draw Your Dream!" and 2) a presentation "Putting 'Them' to Work."  Both were about Bill's work over the years to help reduce the prison recidivism rate and make productive members of society out of ex-cons.   
Several Rotarians drew the picture of their dream, only it wasn't too stressful, typically something about the kind of vacations they wanted to take when retired.  For parolees, the folks that wrote up a complete plan did better in finding a job and were favorites of their parole officer.
The "Putting "Them" to Work" talk started with a lot of interesting statistics on the state of California's prison system (state, couty and local) and about the foster home system (often before prison) and the parole system afterwards.  The current recidivism rate of 62% -- percent of released prisoners that will return at least once in 3 years -- seems bad, but when Bill started working in this field, the rate was at 78%, so these kinds of programs have made  progress.  Some of the things which can change the return flow of parolees back to prison  are: 
  • Learning how to set goals
  • Provide real resources upon release, including funds for transitional housing
  • Start effective job search on the Inside, including real job search tools and practice
  • Provide peer counseling on the Outside
  • Practice role playing in resume workshops
Thanks to Bill for a fact-filled and moving presentation on ways to try to break the revolving door problem with our ex-offender population.