Local organizations host job fair for female inmates

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Calling all felon-friendly employer, are you looking to hire? Local organizations, Women in Leadership, and Western New Mexico Correctional Facility are putting together a job fair for female inmates in the new year.

They are looking for employers willing to set up booth space inside the prison.

It’s an opportunity to help set inmates, set to be released, up for success after incarceration said Stacy Burleson, executive director of Women in Leadership. 

Women in Leadership is an organization dedicated to helping women impacted directly, or indirectly, by the criminal justice system. She knows the struggle of reentering society after incarceration. 

She helped create her organization after her own stint in prison for drug trafficking.

“It’s extremely hard to reenter society especially if you’re doing it by yourself, if you have no one helping you,” said Burleson.

Burleson helped create Women in Leadership after her own stint in prison for drug trafficking.

“I’ve talked to many incarcerated women and they say ‘when I get released I don’t have employment so it’s hard to have goals, it’s hard to obtain housing, it’s hard to do these things,’” said Warden Jessica Vigil-Richards.

Warden Jessica Vigil-Richards is working with Burleson to give female offenders at Western New Mexico Correctional Facility a jump start in reentering society. 

Right now, they are offering daily job readiness and life skill classes with the goal of preparing the inmates – set to be released – for a new job fair.

“It’s to make them strive and know that there’s possibilities out there for them. That’s my biggest hope for all of these women that are incarcerated is that they know there’s another step, and we are here to support them,” said Vigil-Richards.

They said that support is vital. By setting these women up for success it gives them a real opportunity to change for the better and lower recidivism rates.

“It keeps crime down. When you have 85% of ladies incarcerated are mothers, that means you have that many kids out here that don’t have moms,” said Burleson. “It reduces the pipeline to prison as well. It keeps moms at home and kids out of the streets.”

Right now they are recruiting businesses for the job fair on Feb. 15, 2023. 

Burleson said they will have 20 to 30 women ready, with resumes in hand.

If you would like to set up a booth, you do have to get clearance. The deadline is Jan. 10, 2022. If you’re interested you can email womeninleadership.wil@gmail.com or call 505-588-8569.