Sigh, well, while this is a well-intentioned effort, it is merely a replicate of work that has been done many times before with dismal results since about 70% of people released from prison return to prison within five years, nationally; and some reentry programs actually make the problem worse, as we document on our blog.
That being said, we wish everyone involved in this latest effort—especially the prisoners—reported by Nonprofit Quarterly, all the best.
All of the principles outlined in the article are principles that have been part of rehabilitative efforts in one manner or another, inside and outside prison, for decades.
As part of President Barack Obama’s broader plan to enact criminal reform efforts before the end of his term, on Monday, April 25th, the Department of Justice rolled out a new policy plan to guide federal ex-felons’ reintegration into society. The announcement was initially previewed in a video released this weekend by President Obama in anticipation of the first “National Reentry Week,” which began on Sunday and was designated by the DOJ.
Throughout this week, DOJ officials, advocates and community leaders held and will hold events around the country to raise awareness among communities and prisoners of the support that is available and what more can be done. The announcement comes just days after Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe gave more than 200,000 convicted felons in Virginia the right to vote in an executive order, coinciding with many of the policies outlined in this new plan.
“Supporting successful reentry is an essential part of the Justice Department’s mission to promote public safety—because by helping individuals return to productive, law-abiding lives, we can reduce crime across the country and make our neighborhoods better places to live,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the new policies.
During a visit on Monday to Philadelphia, Lynch formally announced The Roadmap to Reentry, a policy plan meant to improve how federal prisons handle the release of prisoners. The plan is composed of five principles (see below) that will guide efforts to reintegrate former federal prisoners. Importantly, the principles, as provided below, supply support both after and during incarceration in the hope of a smooth transition back into society. This support includes improving housing options once prisoners leave and helping prisoners forge better relationships with their families while they’re still incarcerated. While the principles are not necessarily new, they would provide an improvement on current policies, and they may influence state policies as well.
The Department of Justice takes the view that “reentry begins on Day One.” And, just as important, our involvement does not end at the prison gates. As such, these corrections principles span the cycle of custody and beyond: from intake, to incarceration, through to release.
- Principle I: Upon incarceration, every inmate should be provided an individualized reentry plan tailored to his or her risk of recidivism and programmatic needs.
- Principle II: While incarcerated, each inmate should be provided education, employment training, life skills, substance abuse, mental health, and other programs that target their criminogenic needs and maximize their likelihood of success upon release.
- Principle III: While incarcerated, each inmate should be provided the resources and opportunity to build and maintain family relationships, strengthening the support system available to them upon release.
- Principle IV:During transition back to the community, halfway houses and supervised release programs should ensure individualized continuity of care for returning citizens.
- Principle V:Before leaving custody, every person should be provided comprehensive reentry-related information and access to resources necessary to succeed in the community.