Posted on 06/22/2018

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today launched the My Education, My Freedom tool to help formerly incarcerated individuals pursue educational opportunities in California.

“Los Angeles is a city of opportunity and second chances,” said Mayor Garcetti. “An education is one of the most powerful tools to help women and men turn a new page after incarceration, decrease recidivism rates, and create lasting change in people’s lives.”

My Education, My Freedom helps students develop individualized plans by providing a comprehensive overview of educational options, tips on how to enroll in school, and steps students can take to access financial aid as they pursue advanced certifications and degrees to further their careers. The toolkit is the result of a partnership between Mayor Garcetti’s Office of Reentry, Root & Rebound — a reentry advocacy center — and Five Keys Schools and Programs, a non-profit education management group.

“We at Root & Rebound are delighted to be an author of the My Education, My Freedom toolkit and are deeply grateful to our partners at the L.A. Mayor’s Office, Five Keys Schools and Programs, and our critical allies, including formerly incarcerated students and activists, advocates, and educators who have invested significant time, resources, and shared their personal experiences, all to make this resource a reality,” said Katherine Katcher, Root & Rebound Founder and Executive Director. “We believe this toolkit is a critical, powerful tool for people who have records and are seeking to rebuild their lives.”

Since taking office, Mayor Garcetti has worked to end the cycle of recidivism by ensuring formerly incarcerated Angelenos are met with opportunities. In 2015, the Mayor started an Office of Reentry and secured a three-year, $8.9 million contract with the California Department of Transportation to launch New Roads to Second Chances Transitional Work Program, which has already enrolled over 500 participants with a return-to-prison rate of only 1.4%. The Mayor also formed a Blue Ribbon Commission on Employment Equity, an alliance of private and public sector employers committed to providing opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals.

In April 2017, Mayor Garcetti partnered with Loyola Law School to launch the Collateral Consequences of Conviction Justice Project (CCCJP), a legal clinic that helps clients move on with their lives after incarceration. Within its first year of operation, CCCJP handled more than 220 matters for clients needing legal assistance in areas such as employment, immigration, child support, and professional licensing.

Last summer, Los Angeles won a $6 million state Prop. 47 grant — the full amount requested by the Mayor’s Office of Reentry — to launch Project imPACT, which will offer counseling and legal support to formerly incarcerated Angelenos when it launches this summer.