Kicking off National Re-Entry Week in New Haven, Mayor Toni Harp spoke on Monday morning about two separate re-entry programs that will help hundreds of formerly incarcerated people who return to the city of New Haven each month.
Reentry Week promotes reentry of formerly incarcerated individuals back to their communities. New Haven’s Project Fresh Start and Warren Kimbro Reentry Project both work to facilitate successful transitions and better opportunities for people who have gone to prison.
The photographer Joseph Rodriguez has been documenting crime and punishment in California for years and recently focused his gaze on the migration home, in Stockton — a barren outpost in California’s Central Valley.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, each year, approximately 650,000 individuals complete prison sentences and rejoin society. Unfortunately, two-thirds of these individuals are re-arrested within 3 years of their release. We must do more—and use all the tools at our disposal—to break this vicious cycle of crime and diminish the rate of recidivism.
Heather Griller Clark was a teacher for the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, which operates its own one-school district at Adobe Mountain. Its teachers are all Arizona-certified and subject to the same requirements as public school teachers outside the fence for core content areas. Some are certified in vocational education, and those are the teachers Griller Clark is working with to improve the odds of success for youths who leave Adobe Mountain.
The new P.A.C.T. (People Achieving Change Together) program is specially designed for individuals aged 18 to 24. The name was coined by Middlesex Sheriff’s Office staff members who will work in the unit.
The initiative supports efforts to improve outcomes for young parents returning from detention, out-of-home placement, or incarceration. It also aims to reduce recidivism and promote public safety. With the help of the OJJDP grant, The Up Center is now able to provide prerelease and postrelease services to young fathers, helping guide their way of thinking as they reenter society.
“I believe that helping nonviolent offenders get a second chance is a step in the right direction. That’s why I support funding for the Second Chance Act,” Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA) said. Rehabilitation efforts, such as the ones in the Second Chance Act, will help statewide efforts to reduce the damaging cycle of recidivism.
Sheriff Loera said he has been in law enforcement for more than 40 years and believes this is one of the most successful programs he has seen. “I would encourage any county to get involved in a program like this. It works and it’s going to have a big payoff in the end.”
Of all the challenges faced by a former inmate as he navigates his newfound freedom, being a father could be the most formidable of all.