Inmates In Charleston Get Help Inside For Life On The Outside
For inmates wanting to start over, and deciding what to do after serving a sentence, there are multiple pressures.”They may have made a mistake and they may be paying for it, but they have to get on with life and we need to accept them back,” said Pat Gillis, the Jobs For Maine’s Graduates program manager.The Jobs for Maine’s Graduates Program held a career and education fair for the first time for inmates at Charleston Correctional Facility and the Mount View Youth Development Center.”We have never done anything like this before and it gives both the youth and the adults here at Mountain View and at Charleston Correctional Facility, a chance to do a very normal thing that other young adults and youth get to do as they go through life is to attend college fairs or job fairs,” said Gillis.The fair was a brand-new experience for some.”I didn’t want to go to college, didn’t really know anything about college, didn’t take the initiative to learn about college, then in here, I actually learned about it going through the JMG program,” said Matt Gagne, who’s currently serving time at MVYDC.”They have a lot of strikes against them and we want to be part of the opening of opportunities for them when they leave us. Education is a big piece, but being able to find a job another big piece,” said Cheryl Quinn, principal at the MVYDC school.The Maine Department of Transportation has a program geared toward teaching inmates skills they can use down the line.”They take some of the correctional people out and they work with them on the bridges and the highways cutting trees. We have some people that have come on board through this program,” said Marjorie Cross, personnel assistant at MaineDOT.”A job would mean a fresh start. It would mean, I could kind of forget about what I was doing. I can change my ways. I can do something positive for once. I can help someone instead of hurting people. It would mean changing my life completely. It would mean a lot,” said Garrett Brown, who’s serving time at MVYDC.”It’s something that you know you can build yourself up to, and you can tell your loved ones that you are getting past everything you’ve done, and to make a better life for yourself,” said Paul Folsom, who’s serving time at Charleston Correctional Facility.