California New Start Prison Program

California New Start Prison Program

After spending time in prison, ex-offenders can often find it difficult to find employment. Social, personal, and vocational skills need to be re-learned and applied to life outside of prisons. 

The California New Start Prison Program is a statewide program designed to help inmates and parolees become involved in a network of employment possibilities. This program is not mandatory for prisoners – it is a voluntary program that your counselor can prepare you for as you near your release date. 

Numerous statistical studies demonstrate that a parolee who finds and maintains a steady job – and who also has stable housing and avoids substance abuse – is more likely to avoid subsequent offenses and to successfully complete his term on parole.

 The California New Start Prison Program is a partnership program that includes the Office of Community Partnerships, the Employment Development Department, the California Workforce Investment Board, and the Local Workforce Investment Boards. This collaboration of employment forces works together to achieve the goal of finding employment. 

The program is designed to:

  • Link inmate skills and training to labor markets in the community
  • Enhance employability of soon-to-be-released inmates and parolees
  • Increase the likelihood of parolees securing and retaining employment

While inmates are waiting for release, eligible inmates within selected institutions will work with an employment specialist in a 4-week – 70-hour core curriculum course that consists of:

  • Transition planning
  • Job search techniques
  • Job applications
  • Resume writing
  • Interview preparation
  • Financial literacy
  • Documentation for securing employment
  • Job prerequisite certifications
  • One-Stop Career Center orientation

The designers of the Transition Program strongly believe that the above skills are essential for successful re-entry into the community and for reducing the rate of recidivism. 

The One-Stop Career Center connects parolees with their Parole Agent of Record to attend:

  • Job search seminars
  • Individual employment plans
  • Job development workshops
  • Supportive service referrals
  • Employment referrals
  • Job retention follow-up

Funding for the California New Start Prison Program is a federally funded program coming through the Workforce Investment Act and through the California Employment Development Department.