Work Program For Women Inmates Looks To Add Housing

Feb 12, 2020

A work release program in southern Indiana is hoping to find housing to help women after they’re released from prison. They want to mimic success they’ve had with a men’s recovery program.

The work release program takes women from local jails to work at Decatur Plastic Products in North Vernon, Indiana. The women are paid a regular wage and many use their earnings to pay off court fees upon release. A housing and employment program called The Potter’s House already exists at the company for men struggling with drug addiction.

Karen Lea-Freeman is the human resources manager at Decatur Plastic Products and started the work release program. She says without temporary housing for the women upon release, the program still has a big hole.

“We’re not setting them up for success,” she says. “We’re getting them a job, but what happens when they get out of jail and they don’t have a place to go to?”

The company says the work release program helps women transition  from incarceration while, in turn, helping the company solve a worker shortage. 

Contact Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.