New York

Jail to job: NYC to give jobs to released inmates

  • In this Thursday, April 20, 2017 photo, Neftali Thomas Diaz, right, tries on donated work clothes with the help of his case manager David Rodriguez, at The Fortune Society in New York. At the Fortune Society, one of the social service nonprofits expected to partner with the city on the plan and a sponsor of Diaz, the mission is proving the critics wrong by training former state prison and jail inmates on how to land and keep jobs. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    In this Thursday, April 20, 2017 photo, Neftali Thomas Diaz, right, tries on donated work clothes with the help of his case manager David Rodriguez, at The Fortune Society in New York. At the Fortune Society, one of the social service nonprofits expected to partner with the city on the plan and a sponsor of Diaz, the mission is proving the critics wrong by training former state prison and jail inmates on how to land and keep jobs. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Thursday, April 20, 2017 photo, Neftali Thomas Diaz tries on donated work clothes at The Fortune Society in New York. At the Fortune Society, one of the social service nonprofits expected to partner with the city on the plan and a sponsor of Diaz, the mission is proving the critics wrong by training former state prison and jail inmates on how to land and keep jobs. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    In this Thursday, April 20, 2017 photo, Neftali Thomas Diaz tries on donated work clothes at The Fortune Society in New York. At the Fortune Society, one of the social service nonprofits expected to partner with the city on the plan and a sponsor of Diaz, the mission is proving the critics wrong by training former state prison and jail inmates on how to land and keep jobs. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Thursday, April 20, 2017 photo, Neftali Thomas Diaz, left, talks with his case manager, David Rodriguez, at The Fortune Society in New York. New York City is betting that Diaz and other low-level offenders like him are right about the salvation in second-chance employment. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will spend $10 million a year on a “jails to jobs” initiative that will guarantee all Rikers inmates serving sentences of a year or less a chance at short-term employment once they do their time. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    In this Thursday, April 20, 2017 photo, Neftali Thomas Diaz, left, talks with his case manager, David Rodriguez, at The Fortune Society in New York. New York City is betting that Diaz and other low-level offenders like him are right about the salvation in second-chance employment. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will spend $10 million a year on a “jails to jobs” initiative that will guarantee all Rikers inmates serving sentences of a year or less a chance at short-term employment once they do their time. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)  (The Associated Press)

New York City is betting on a plan to offer jobs to released jail inmates as a way to break the cycle of incarceration.

Mayor Bill de Blasio's $10 million-a-year "jails to jobs" initiative will guarantee all Rikers Island inmates serving sentences of a year or less a chance at short-term employment once they do their time. The jobs will last up to eight weeks, with hourly wages covered by taxpayer money rather than the pockets of the employers.

Supporters say transitional jobs are a good investment because research shows that inmates who get them are less likely to break the law again and go back to the notorious jail, where costs of housing each prisoner can top $200,000 a year.

Critics say it wastes money by rewarding criminals.