Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Announces Launch of Groundbreaking Reentry Program
Friday, April 13th, 2018
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms joined the Department of Corrections, the Department of Watershed Management and the Georgia Department of Corrections to launch a new reentry program, Preparing Adult Offenders to Transition through Training and Therapy (PAT³). The program focuses on the reentry needs of incarcerated males with children by providing job training and employment opportunities with the City of Atlanta.
“This reentry program will be critical to the success of our communities. Eliminating barriers to employment and providing resources for family reunification is the first step to lowering our City’s recidivism rates,” said Mayor Bottoms. “As we actively address concerns within the criminal justice system, it is imperative that we provide opportunities for individuals to reintegrate back into their communities as productive members of society.”
PAT3 is designed in a three-tiered process: state mandated vocational training, workforce development and employment. Upon completion of the vocational training phase, participants will become certified City employees in the Department of Watershed Management, which includes full health benefits. Earnings from this position will be saved in an account until the participants are officially released from the Atlanta City Detention Center– a state-recognized transitional center.
“A large percentage of inmates serving time in the GDC are from metro Atlanta and will most likely return to our communities upon release from incarceration,” said Chief Patrick Labat, Department of Corrections. “This program offers participants a second chance, and we have taken it a step further by providing employment opportunities and other essential tools for these men to be productive in society.”
Program participants include detainees with 12 to18 months remaining in their respective sentences who are currently in the care and custody of the Georgia Department of Corrections and the Atlanta City Detention Center. The goal of this program is to reduce recidivism by providing essential life skills including financial management, parenting classes, anger management, substance abuse prevention and workforce readiness. The reentry counseling and classes will be facilitated by Urban League Greater Atlanta.
“The Atlanta Department of Watershed Management is proud to partner on this innovative reentry initiative,” said Commissioner Kishia L. Powell, Department of Watershed Management. “We are honored Chief Labat created this program with Watershed Management in mind, to expand our community reach by serving as the primary employment provider for this program. We look forward to working side-by-side with the program participants as they prepare to transition back into society as full-fledged City employees.”
“The Georgia Department of Corrections has a history of collaborating with various state and community organizations to provide each releasing offender with the resources needed to maintain themselves in their community,” said Gregory C. Dozier, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Corrections. “Our partnership with the Atlanta DOC is definitely a way to support our mission.”
Inmates from the Georgia Department of Corrections must meet strict requirements to participate in the program including but not limited to: male only; convicted in or return address to Fulton County, Georgia; minimum of 12 months remaining on sentence; medium or minimum security; GED/high school diploma preferable but not mandatory; no sex offenders; and no violent offenders.
Criminal justice reform has long been a key priority for Mayor Bottoms and was a centerpiece of her campaign. In February, Mayor Bottoms signed the Cash Bond Ordinance into law which eliminates cash bonds to secure release from the Atlanta Detention Center following an arrest for violation of city ordinances.