The November 2013 issue of Reentry Matters from the Justice Center offers a reporting of outcomes from agencies across the United States that received funding by the 2008 Second Chance Act. The Second Chance Act offers financial support to agencies working with prisoners for successful reintegration to their communities.
Successful reintegration hinges on gainful employment, yet formerly incarcerated individuals face enormous challenges finding jobs. Lack of employment greatly increases the risk of recidivism. Former New York City Police Commissioner, Bernard Kerick, spent three years in prison for charges that included tax evasion. On an interview on the Today Show, he discusses how he spent those three years talking with his fellow inmates and finally coming to the conclusion that the very system he had worked to put in place only encourages recidivism from formerly incarcerated individuals by prohibiting them from finding gainful employment.
At George Mason University, Criminology, Law and Society undergraduates in Danielle Rudes’ Honors Seminar are doing cutting edge research on prisoner reentry. This group of nine talented students have been provided with unprecedented access to Fairfax County jails in which they will be interviewing and observing inmates and jail staff in order to provide improvement suggestions to current processes and practices. Their research will conclude at the end of the Spring 2014 semester.