MILWAUKIE, ORE. — Do the crime, do the time. But then what? It is difficult for individuals with criminal records to find employment after completing their prison sentences. To address this, Dave’s Killer Bread, Milwaukie, has partnered with The Last Mile, an inmate technology training program at San Quentin State Prison, to launch the Second Chance Program.
Part of the Flowers Foods family of brands, Dave’s Killer Bread has a history of offering second chances to its workers. One-third of the bakery’s employee-partners has a criminal background, and the company has seen substantial growth through adopting this hiring practice. The Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation was founded to educate and encourage businesses on the practicality of hiring individuals who have criminal records. Now, with the Second Chance Project, it is taking things one step further.
“I’ve seen first-hand the ability of people — my co-workers — to turn their lives around with a second chance,” said Dan Letchinger, vice-president of marketing, Dave’s Killer Bread. “We’re working to go beyond our bakery walls and give voice to others and show the world the positive lasting change that second chances can have.”
The entry point to the Second Chance Program is the web site www.secondchanceproject.com, where people with criminal backgrounds and advocates can share personal stories about the transformative impact of being given a job after serving a prison sentence. Along with pictures and anecdotes, the site hosts statistical information on how current employment trends help to perpetuate cycles of criminal activity.
“We know that employment can be the difference between becoming a success story and returning to crime,” said Beverly Parenti, co-founder and executive director of The Last Mile. “The Second Chance Project aims to change the stigma around those with a criminal record and demonstrate that second chance employment is powerful, one voice at a time. This is why we’re honored to be a part of this project: because together we can make a difference.”
The Last Mile provides inmates in the San Quentin State Prison system with advanced training and work opportunities to hone their skills to prepare for workforce re-entry. Graduates of the in-prison coding program leave with marketable job skills that aid them in finding employment as web developers.
TLM Works, a web development firm in San Quentin, Calif., comprised of coders trained by The Last Mile, designed and built the Second Chance Project web site. For more information on what else the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation is doing to help former inmates, visit www.dkbfoundation.org.