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A new job for Rhode Island’s newest senator

Jake Bissaillon will become CEO of Justice Assistance.LinkedIn

It’s Jake Bissaillon’s last week on the job as chief of staff for the Rhode Island Senate.

Bissaillon, a Democrat who won a special election earlier this month to represent Senate District 1 in Providence, is leaving his $188,000-a-year gig to become CEO of Justice Assistance, a Cranston-based nonprofit that helps victims navigate the justice system and ex-offenders find work and comply with court orders.

He’ll leave his job as chief of staff (which he had to quit because he’s becoming a senator) on Friday, and start with Justice Assistance on Dec. 4.

Justice Assistance was founded in 1978 by Jonathan Houston, who helped the organization grow to a staff of 18 employees and an annual budget of $2.4 million, according to its website. Houston announced earlier this year he would lead a national search for his successor. He earned $185,000 in the 2022 fiscal year, according to the organization’s most recent IRS filing.

Bissaillon will lead a major expansion for Justice Assistance, which received an $11.2 million gift from the Papitto Opportunity Connection to offer wraparound services (like health care, housing assistance, job training, and life skills training) to clients from a single location rather than forcing them to bounce from agency to agency to find support.


The organization plans to build an ambulatory health care facility and also wants to build affordable housing units with the grant.

Bissaillon hasn’t yet been sworn in as a member of the Senate, which is a part-time job. He’ll finish the rest of the term of the late senator Maryellen Goodwin, and has already said he plans to seek reelection next year.

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter that also contains links to other important Rhode Island stories, information about local events, and more. If you’d like to receive it via email Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.


Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him @danmcgowan.