Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Belay Denver Jail Kitchen Initiative Update

Last week, a group of us from Belay Enterprises attended a meeting with the Denver Jail leadership to discuss organizational issues regarding our potential commercial kitchen training business with a national prison industries consultant. We all came away from the meeting very excited.

The consultant, with 30 years of experience in prison industries, commented that this was one of the most innovative and exciting partnerships he has ever seen. He thought that this will be a ground-breaking model for the rest of the country. He agreed that our theory of starting the faith-based employment relationship while behind bars and then transitioning it outside will have a big impact on lowering recidivism rates.

With that said, one of the challenges of the project is accommodating federal prison law with regards to prison employment. To successfully do that--which the consultant thinks is not going to be a problem-- we have to satisfy the following:
  1. Need legislative authority
  2. Pay wages not less than prevailing for the particular position
  3. Written assurance that we are not displacing workers which is not going to be a problem because we're starting a new business
  4. Pay Workman's Comp
  5. Consult with organized labor
  6. Adhere to National Environmental Protection Act
  7. Consult with Business Leaders
The first step in all of this is organizing a Public Safety Committee Subcommittee. This committee will include a cross section of community leaders from government, business and the community. The purpose of the group is to ensure that the above 7 steps are successfully implemented allowing us to operate our employee training business within the jail.

I made it clear that including faith as part of our program was key to Belay's willingness to operate the business in the jail. The leadership completely understands and is committed to accommodating our faith-based purposes.

I'm really excited about all of this and look forward to seeing how this all develops. This could get us far down the path of our goal of 750 faith-based jobs in 5 years.

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