Ex-cons steered back into society

Construction worker in Albany. / Jessica Fairley

Attorney General Eric Holder announced new requirements for halfway houses.

The rules are set in place for federal criminals to transition back into society.

FOX 31 checked with local officials to see how they are helping inmates transition.

Federal halfway houses now have to provide mental health and substance treatment, in addition to transportation for job interviews. Although the federal system is separate from the state, these are already some of the things locals are doing to help criminals.

"There is a psychiatrist that comes out here weekly and about 20 percent of the inmates in our population are on some type of medication," said Col John Ostrander, Dougherty County Jail.

The Governor's Office of Workforce Development has started a pilot program for job Southwest Georgia Workforce 44 works with those living in the Albany Transition Center. They focus on job interviewing skills and education. A partnership with Albany Technical College has even led to jobs in custodial work, construction and retail.

"It may not be the best job but it is one that can get them started," said Charles Williams, Southwest Georgia Workforce 44.

Col. John Ostrander says, for ex-cons, there's a 70 percent chance that they'll end up back behind bars. He says when there are programs in place to help inmates adapt to life outside, they may not come back.