by Anh Nguyen
Parole Administrator Ryan Youtsey has worked for the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation since 2005. Youtsey currently oversees staff working within the Division of Adult Parole Operations and manages different community re-entry programs. He has partnered with agencies that assist justice-involved individuals on parole supervision across California and has been involved in the development of the Prison to Employment or Corrections Workforce Partnership since 2018. In his interview with N&R Publications, he explained the Prison to Employment Initiative’s impact and his experience working with formerly justice-involved individuals.
What is your experience working with justice-involved individuals?
I have developed a passion for improving justice-involved rehabilitative opportunities. My daily professional life is normally a mixture of forging partnerships with like-minded community-based organizations, meeting with state and local agencies to improve access to rehabilitative programs, and managing daily operations with DAPO’s incredible staff that coordinate with re-entry programs across the state.
What is the Prison to Employment initiative in California?
The California Workforce Development Boards received grant funding to specifically provide employment opportunities for currently incarcerated and justice-involved individuals in the community. The Prison to Employment Initiative has been a successful collaboration of many workforce and CDCR stakeholders across California. Using those grant funds, we were able to improve employment opportunities for those we serve while reducing recidivism and protecting public safety.
How is the grant being used to help formerly incarcerated individuals?
The grant is to assist justice-involved individuals with job readiness, apprenticeships and employment assistance through the American Job Centers of California. Parole agents electronically refer those on parole supervision to their local AJCC’s for employment assistance.
Have you had any story to share regarding justice-involved individuals who have led a successful post-prison life?
I have seen numerous stories of formerly incarcerated individuals return to their communities with nothing but their $200 given to them upon release. However, through their efforts and our collaborative partnerships, we have seen justice-involved individuals obtain new careers, graduate from college, become advocates to support others, obtain pro-social support networks, and lead successful, crime-free lifestyles. They were able to be successful in re-establishing themselves in the community.
What do you think are important factors in getting people ready to establish a successful post-prison life?
Having strong advocacy and family support systems. It is more difficult to be successful when we are alone. DAPO has established partnerships with governmental agencies, community- based organizations, and advocacy groups that provide housing, career or education assistance, substance use disorder treatment, cognitive behavioral treatment, identity documents, Medi-Cal and Veterans benefits, and other community resources and services, which are all fundamentally important to formerly incarcerated individuals as they re-establish their lives in the community.
To learn more, visit https://www.workforcealliancenorthbay.org