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Span gets $1.2m to aid inmates

The US Department of Labor has awarded nearly $1.2 million to a Boston nonprofit to help prepare prison inmates to enter the workforce when they are released.

The grants are part of the Training to Work-Adult Reentry initiative, which seeks to provide work skills, education, and services to improve the long-term employment prospects of inmates who are close to being released. There were 16 grants totaling $20 million awarded around the country; Span Inc. of Boston will receive the funding locally.

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The grants are intended to help participants obtain high school diplomas or the equivalent. They also are meant to cover case management, mentoring, and follow-up services to help reduce recidivism.

A study this year by MassInc, a nonpartisan think tank, found that six of every 10 inmates released from state and county prisons in Massachusetts commit new crimes within six years. If the recidivism rate were cut by 5 percent, the report says, Massachusetts could save $150 million from its $1 billion corrections budget.

“The grants announced today will help incarcerated adults build a bridge to their communities and improve their chances of success in life,” acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris said in a statement.

Beth Healy can be reached at
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