LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — What will happen to these men?
What is their future after prison?
That is the question Jon Ponder has been asking since he was released from a federal prison years ago.
Now Ponder knows something.
To know what happens when they get out, you have to think about what happens to them inside.
“We’re helping people returning back to our community either way. We’re reducing further victimization inside our community,” Ponder explained.
Ponder created and runs Hope for Prisoners, a program to help men and women transition from prison back home with therapy and job training.
It’s such a successful program that President Trump is coming to its graduation on Thursday.
Now, Ponder is announcing an expansion.
“It’s going to give us an opportunity to work with people currently incarcerated up to 18 months prior to release. This is a unique opportunity to bring it inside and couple it with vocational training,” Ponder said.
The new program will bring Hope for Prisoners into prison.
A vocational village is being built inside Southern Desert Correctional.
18 months before an inmate is released, they will train with the help of CSN staff on things like HVAC work, construction and other industries in the valley.
Employers will then work to hire those inmates while they complete another 18 months of work with Hope for Prisoners after they get out.
A program that Ponder says won’t cost the state a dime.
He said, “The beauty is we have them for 18 months on the inside. Then, Hope for Prisoners will walk with them. What an incredible return on workforce dollar investments.
The village is up and running in the early stages.
Ponder hopes one day that prisons across the country will use his model.
And maybe they will. He already has the attention of the highest office in the country.