On any given day, several hundred prisoners are released from Missouri’s prison system. Twice as many people are under corrections department supervision on the outside as are under supervision on the inside. More than 20 counties are sending delegates to a summit meeting next week to find ways to keep ex-convicts from becoming convicts again. Next week’s three-day long Missouri Offender Workforce Summit will look at ways former prisoners can go into a community, get back to their families, find jobs, and keep out of trouble. Organizer Antona Jones says their integration into a community is the key to keeping them from committing more crimes. She says they need support for housing, employment, and medical attention–among other things–or their chances of becoming productive citizens is “almost nil.” She says the state is making strong efforts to provide training for people while they are in prison. But she says educating employers and convincing them to change long-standing policies that they don’t hire ex-offenders is one of the biggest challenges the summit will address. Jones hopes the conference helps those potential employers and helps community organizations learn more about programs available to help them help the former prisoner.(The summit is November 7-9 at the Lodge of Four Seasons at the Lake of the Ozarks. More information is available at www.stlarchs.org or at www.proworkdev.com)