For the People and the Center for Employment Opportunities Partner to Provide Cash Assistance and Reentry Services to People Released via Resentencing in California

The Initiative Provides Cash Stipends and Offers Access to Immediate Work and Support Services to People Released From Prison via Prosecutor-Initiated Resentencing

For The People the national nonprofit working with prosecutors to remedy excessive sentences announced its partnership with The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO). CEO provides immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services exclusively to people recently released from incarceration. The two organizations are partnering to bring CEO’s Returning Citizens Stimulus (RCS) to individuals released from California prisons by prosecutors, an innovation known as Prosecutor-Initiated Resentencing.

Prosecutor-Initiated Resentencing is the process pioneered by For The People to support prosecutors in looking back at unjust, excessive sentences. Thanks to PIR, more than 75 incredible people have returned home to their families and communities. This is in large part thanks to a highly collaborative model involving community leaders, elected prosecutors, and public defenders.

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In April 2020, CEO conceived and implemented the RCS program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With over $24M already distributed, it is the largest-ever cash transfer program specifically for formerly incarcerated individuals. The program supports justice-impacted people to overcome common financial barriers they face on reentry. RCS candidates receive three cash payments totaling up to $2,750. Recipients also have the option to participate in CEO’s program which includes immediate work and daily pay, job coaching and placement, and retention services.

In 2018, For The People passed the nation’s first law allowing prosecutors to look back at and remedy excessive sentences in California. Today, WashingtonIllinois, and Oregon have championed laws of their own, modeled after California’s law. With more people returning home through this mechanism than ever before, cash assistance is a crucial component for reentry.

“When we first heard about the RCS program offered by CEO, we knew we wanted to be apart of it” said For The People’s Founder and Executive Director Hillary Blout. “Cash assistance and CEO’s program are exactly what the people we have worked to bring home need. CEO provides concrete reentry incentives that lead to increased programming, post-release growth, and economic mobility. We have already seen success in the stories of people like Alwin Smith, who has received RCS funds allowing him to get a phone to connect with his out-of-state family, begin his job search, and more. There are so many stories like his that are yet to be told.”

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“We are excited to offer the RCS program to people released via For The People’s innovative Prosecutor-Initiated Resentencing model in California,” said Sam Schaeffer, Chief Executive Officer of CEO. “RCS is designed to provide immediate financial support and direct access to structured, local community support services for returning citizens confronting many barriers during reentry. We believe this partnership will lay the foundation for more states to accelerate decarceration efforts and provide cash assistance as part of reentry. CEO commends For The People, participating prosecutors, public defenders, and community groups for leading the way to advance this work in California and beyond.”

The partnership between For The People and The Center for Employment Opportunities will help strengthen reentry pathways, a crucial component for each returning citizen that For The People helps develop. By providing cash assistance and comprehensive employment services, CEO lays the groundwork for justice-impacted people to build a strong future for themselves, their families, and their communities. In turn, prosecutors engaging in resentencing can have the confidence that returning citizens are equipped with the necessary resources for successful reintegration.

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Center for Employment OpportunitiesCEO PartnerFor The PeopleImmediate WorkJob SearchpeopleRCS
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