As cities and states seek to reduce their jail and prison populations to slow the spread of COVID-19, already stretched re-entry programs are working to address increased demand for their services.
For their Skilled America podcast, the National Skills Coalition spoke to our Jeff Abramowitz, Executive Director of Reentry Services at JEVS, and Darnell Manuel, a participant in our Looking Forward Philadelphia program, about the how they’re dealing with the increased demand and the challenges brought to bear by the pandemic.
Fifty-two-year-old Darnell Manuel has a bachelors degree in communications with a minor in business. After experiencing incarceration, he found JEVS’ re-entry program.
“When you have a criminal background, and you get in front of people…you feel like there’s a swinging pendulum ready to knock you down before you can say a word,” he said. But JEVS Human Services has changed his outlook.
“They make it comfortable for you to come here and comfortable to say, you know what, I might have another chance at life,” he said. “I might have another chance to raise my child or grandchild, maybe one day have a 401K.”