An inmate at a women’s prison in Madison, Ind., created a PowerPoint presentation of our book, Jails to Jobs: Seven Steps to Becoming Employed. And we’re happy to share her Jails to Jobs PPT with readers who might want to do something similar for the job search workshops they present.
The idea came about at the suggestion of Mary Shipman, a business technology instructor at the prison, who teaches prisoners how to use Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. She discovered our book on Amazon.
“I recently presented your book to an offender as material for a practice PowerPoint project,” Shipman says. “I gave her the book on Friday and by Monday she had read it and came back to class excited to start working on her project. She says that this book is the most relevant and up-to-date information she has been given from a single source.”
She created the presentation and shared it with her class. The PowerPoint was such a hit that she has presented it to several other programs at the facility.
She has found her passion
“She’s really found her passion. She goes and gives these presentations and empowers women. It’s an amazing thing to see. I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Shipman.
“As an instructor, I am proud of what she has accomplished, and I feel that your book has played a role in her future success after release.”
The inmate has been incarcerated for a little more than three years and will be going home in December, just before Christmas. Her crime: prescription fraud.
Although she was included in a documentary movie, she has never done any public speaking before, according to Shipman. And the woman is really making an impact.
“It’s interesting to watch because you can see the other women nodding their heads. I’ve tried to give this presentation but it’s not quite the same as someone who’s gone through it,” she says.
In addition to the presentation, Shipmen uses our book in her course. Two things that she feels are particularly useful to the students is the idea of using a JIST card, which she didn’t know about before, and going to a free or low-cost tattoo removal program to get unwanted tattoos taken off.
Improving pre-release job search education
Although Shipman feels that prisons are getting better at preparing inmates for reentry, the best thing they can do is give specific advice and information.
“The most important thing is giving them specific places to go,” she says. “Tell them, ‘When you get out, this is where you need to go and this is what they can do for you.’ This takes away the personal accountability, but it will help them.
“They’ve had people telling them what to do for the past five years (Or however long they’ve been in prison), so if we tell them what’s their first step it would help tremendously.”
Jails to Jobs is searching for ideas for this blog. If you know of a company that is hiring ex-offenders, or if you have unique job search tips that could assist ex-offenders in finding employment or are aware of organizations or agencies doing exceptional things that benefit ex-offenders in their job search efforts, we'd love to hear from you.