Air­port jew­elry store giv­ing ex-o≠en­ders a leg up

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By David Porter

ne­wark, n.j.» Shop­pers pe­rus­ing the jew­elry at a pop-up store in Ne­wark Lib­erty In­ter­na­tional Air­port’s Ter­mi­nal B can talk to a sales clerk who also made the baubles, but they might be sur­prised to learn the em­ployee is wear­ing a dif­fer­ent kind of bracelet — the kind that goes around your an­kle and tracks your ev­ery move.

The store is part of a pro­gram for women re­cently re­leased from jail or cur­rently in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. They get job skills, some in­come and, per­haps most im­por­tant, self-con­fi­dence.

It’s the prod­uct of a union be­tween a rev­erend, a film pro­ducer and a former gov­er­nor all com­mit­ted to eas­ing a tran­si­tion that can be daunt­ing at best.

“When you get out of prison, so­ci­ety doesn’t let you out of prison, in a way,” said Francine LeFrak, the film pro­ducer. “But if you’re man­ag­ing a kiosk at Ne­wark Air­port and you’re in con­tact with other peo­ple, you’re feel­ing that dig­nity of, ‘I’m worth it and now I can talk to any­body.’ It’s about skill-build­ing.”

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