FOLSOM (CBS13) — Dozens of convicts took their first steps to turning their lives around by graduating with job certifications on Tuesday.
Caitlin Churchill will be at the Folsom Women’s Facility until 2016, but she’ll walk out with hope when she’s released.
“It is a very positive environment and they really encourage us,” she said. “And they let us know that we can do this and we can be successful when we go home.”
She’s one of 55 inmates who received job certifications on Tuesday in industries such as construction, computer design and customer service. Without kills, the women face an uphill battle once they get out.
“I think the biggest challenge they have after leaving prison is they don’t have a way to support themselves, or they can’t go back to the way they were supporting themselves previously,” said Charles Pattillo with the California Prison Industry Authority.
About 60 percent of California inmates reoffend after leaving prison. That number drops to 7 percent for inmates who take part in the job skills program. Many leave here signed up with unions.
“A lot of them are making 6 figures when you start adding in overtime,” Pattillo said. “We’re literally stacking the deck so they don’t come back to prison.”
This isn’t Rosie Turturici’s first time in prison, but she says it will be her last after getting two certificates in carpentry and construction.
“I know that this will keep me on the right track ’cause they’re affording me the opportunity to be out there and not have to worry about what I was and who I was,” she said.
Prisons statewide use the training program that costs about $1 million a year. Officials say the cost to send inmates back to prison would be three times that amount.
“We have employers, we have business agents from unions that are spotting these ladies and getting their names and are ready to pick them up,” he said.