Jun 2, 2017

Maine's governor trades prison time for jobs

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Maine's Governor Paul LePage commuted the prison sentences of 17 male inmates last week, but with one catch: they have to find a job or enroll in some sort of job training, per NYT.

Although adding just 17 employees to the workforce may not seem a significant number, it could ring louder as a unique strategy to solving the state's scarcity of workers. "The tourist industry is struggling, can't find enough workers," LePage said on Tuesday during a local radio interview. "We are looking at every corner of the state to try to put people back to work. That's what the commutation program's all about."

Sounds familiar: This is almost like an extension of the "ban the box" program that disallows employers from inquiring about an applicant's conviction history. It's unclear if the governor helps the former inmates find work or training, or how they keep up with their job-seeking progress. But it's a public example of local government encouraging previously incarcerated people to join the workforce.

Note: LePage only commuted sentences of nonviolent offenders — he would not free those convicted of domestic or sexual abuse, or drug trafficking.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump signed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package on Friday, as infections in the U.S. topped 100,000 and more cities experience spikes of the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: The U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

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Italy on Friday reported 969 COVID-19 deaths over a 24-hour period, marking the deadliest single-day for the country since the global outbreak began, according to data from the Health Ministry.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 595,800 — Total deaths: 27,324 — Total recoveries: 131,006.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 103,942 — Total deaths: 1,689 — Total recoveries: 870.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump signed the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill to provide businesses and U.S. workers economic relief.
  4. State updates: Nearly 92% of cities do not have adequate medical supplies — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month.
  5. World updates: Italy reported 969 coronavirus deaths on Friday, the country's deadliest day.
  6. Business latest: President Trump authorized the use of the Defense Production Act to direct General Motors to build ventilators for those affected by COVID-19. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has been appointed to enforce the act.
  7. 🏰 1 Disney thing: Both Disney World and Disneyland theme parks in the U.S. are closed until further notice.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancing.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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