A newly-minted job-training program rolled out by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is giving former prisoners hope in the real world upon their release.
Having served nearly 100 days in office, Bottoms touts the PAT program, which stands for Preparing Adult offenders through Treatment, Therapy and Training, as the focal point of her efforts in advocating for criminal justice reform. According to CBS46, the re-entry program is designed to help non-violent criminals and ex-offenders receive vocational training while in jail, in order to remove any obstacles to employment when they’re released.
During Monday’s announcement, Bottoms said the program has a “deep personal meaning to her.” She noted the program will provide a paycheck and benefits for inmates to start paying their rent and child support while they’re incarcerated, as well as give them the opportunity to become city employees in the Department of Watershed Management after being released.
“These men have an opportunity not just for a job, but this is a career pathway,” said Bottoms.
The program has trained and graduated eight men so far, and more than a dozen other inmates are waiting to complete the program.
PAT accepts men who are in prison for non-violent offenses and who are scheduled to be released within the next 12 to 18 months.