Convicts face tough job market when they leave prison

Tacoma News TribuneAugust 15, 2011 

Timothy Woodward has spent seven years in prison for assault, a devastating crime to which he pleaded guilty and for which he makes no excuses.

His release date is Sept. 6. Since June 12, he has been part of the State Department of Corrections’ work-release program – living at Tacoma’s Progress House on Sixth Avenue, looking for the job he’ll need if he is to succeed at freedom.

Trouble is, the dismal job market has drained the work out of work release.

Woodward, 37, has experience as a flagger, in construction, food service and landscaping. He makes five job contacts a day, searches with WorkSource computers, rides the bus to commercial areas all over the county, scans businesses for “now hiring” signs.

He’s had no job offers.

The problem here isn’t so much Timothy Woodward’s unemployment. It’s the threat to society posed by offenders who can’t legally support themselves once their sentences end.

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