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Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has launched a new initiative to aid inmates in their efforts to re-enter society, CBS 46 reported.

Dubbed the Preparing Adult Offenders Through Treatment, Therapy and Training (PAT) program, Bottoms aims to help those who have been convicted of crimes overcome barriers to employment, the news outlet writes. The program is designed for men who were imprisoned for non-violent crimes and are slated to be released within 12 to 18 months.  As part of the initiative, inmates have the opportunity to take advantage of vocational training workshops in preparation to take on jobs after they are released.

Bottoms’ own experiences inspired her to launch the PAT program. Her father, Major Lance, struggled with drug abuse and was put behind bars several times. “The struggles that my dad had and his imprisonment and the impact it had on me and my brothers and sisters, and on our family as a whole as I shared throughout the course of the campaign, it really was the death of our family,” she said in a statement, according to the news outlet. She also added that the program is a “career pathway” that will ensure inmates turn their lives around for the better.

So far, eight inmates have been hired by the city’s Watershed Department through PAT and others are waiting to begin training.

Several initiatives have been launched nationwide to help inmates get on the right track upon being released from prison. In February, the city of Baltimore announced the creation of the Office of African American Male Engagement to focus on mentoring Black men returning home from prison and to reduce the Black male incarceration rate.


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