Prosecutors, Reentry, and Public Safety

Institute for Innovation in Prosecution logoThe vast majority of people incarcerated in state prison—at least 95 percent—will be released back to their communities. Nationwide, roughly 641,000 people were released from state and federal prisons in 2015. Although fewer people are returning to prison, the research still suggests that returning individuals face a host of barriers and challenges to reintegrating and rejoining their communities. These obstacles can create a cycle of criminal justice involvement leading to long-term negative public safety and justice outcomes. This publication, sponsored by the Executive Session of the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, argues that prosecutors must advocate for holding individuals accountable while also aiming to prepare those who come through the criminal justice system for reentry. This reimagining of a prosecutor’s duty requires them to recognize and champion the twin aims of long-term public safety and equity.