ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE)- When inmates get released from jail, it can be hard for them to find jobs. But an Albuquerque man by the name of Richard Diab, has a plan to change that.
He’s worked with inmates for many years, in prisons and out, “What I saw… good men, no opportunities,” said Diab.
At Thursday night’s Albuquerque Bernalillo County Government Commission meeting, Diab presented a proposal for a program called, ‘After Lock Up, Help Them Up’.
“I have 20 companies on board ready to hire these men and women getting out of jail,” said Diab to the members of the commission on Thursday.
The commission, made up of city council members and county commissioners, were about to vote on a plan for the Metropolitan Detention Center Transition Planning and Re-entry Resource Center.
The center would help inmates get on their feet when they leave jail, making sure they have a doctor, a safe place to stay and any medications they may need.
“I said last night, please hold your vote until you look at my proposal,” said Diab.
The commission voted to approve that center, but they were open ears to Diab’s plan.
“This is another step, if we can take our inmates who’ve had issues and now provide employment for them, gainful employment, I think that will go a long way in making sure that they don’t recidivate back to the jail,” said County Commissioner Art De La Cruz.
In Diab’s proposal, he suggests working with the inmates in jail, three months before their release.
“At the end of the three months, you’re not guaranteed to get into the program, deepening on your attitude,” he said.
But, if they stay sober, pass random drug tests and keep a positive attitude, they’ll have a job lined up when they’re out.
“I’ll pay for the first three months of wages, monitor, supervise, encourage and develop this gentleman, match his skill sets to your company, if you hire him and give him a chance, and overlook his felonies,” said Diab.
There’s a variety of jobs the inmates could do around the city, some in restaurants, car dealerships and call centers. The employer would have three months to try out the ex-inmate, if they do well, they’d then get moved to payroll.
“It’s succeeding in many states, so I’m not coming with a blank idea, but I’m taking it a step further,” said Diab.
But for him, if his proposal gets funding, he said taking on these ex-cons has to be a labor of love.
“You have to love them, if you don’t love them… they can’t be just a job, they have to become family,” said Diab.
Diab is asking for $250,000 to start the program and test it out for six months. Local government leaders said they’ll take a good look at the program and if they can help.
The proposal also includes the ex-inmates access to daycare and possibly housing, so they could continue to go to work successfully.