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Work program for ex-offenders designed to clean up Indy neighborhoods

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Putting ex-offenders to work and combating illegal trash dumping at the same time: It's an initiative that city leaders believe will help crack down on crime.

The city is partnering with RecycleForce recycling center and Keys to Work employment agency to offer jobs to ex-offenders. Asked how many jobs are available through the initiative, Hogsett only said everyone who needs a job should have a job. 

When Malissa Sheese was released in October after 2-1/2 years behind bars for burglary, finding work was a challenge with a felony on her criminal record. 

"I was addicted to opiates, made some very bad choices. That's what ended me up in prison," Sheese said. "I used to be in the financing end of my career and, with the charges that I have, I can no longer do financing." 

Thanks to the city's initiative that provides opportunities to former offenders, Sheese found work at RecycleForce. She disassembles components of computers that are being recycled. 

"We take apart any kind of CPU unit server. What we are after are these boards. That's what we do," Sheese said.

During a news conference Monday, community leaders discussed an expanded effort to offer training and jobs to those who are re-entering the workforce. Hogsett said he believes the initiative will reduce the recidivism rate.

"Obviously they've made a mistake. They've now paid their debt to society for that mistake. We don't want them to re-offend. We don't want them back into the criminal justice system. We want them out on tax rolls, meaningfully employed," the mayor said.

Job responsibilities include cleaning up electronics, TVs and other similar items that have been dumped around Indy neighborhoods. 

"This has given me an opportunity to have my self-confidence back. To know that I am still a good person, that I just made bad choice," Sheese said.

On a side note, RecycleForce in 2018 processed 168 tons of electronics.


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