“We have just finished the first module of the course and can see the commitment and determination mounting as the women in our class advance through each session,” said Deborah Simmons, founder of The Reentry Initiative, which is delivering CBI-CA to participants in the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility in Colorado.
Harris and Maricopa County serve as examples of the many people and communities that are using ISI grant funds to promote positive behavior change, accountability, and more.
New data released today by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, with support from Arnold Ventures, reveals the startling extent to which probation and parole violations contribute to states’ high prison admissions and populations, as well as the subsequent cost to taxpayers.
The endeavors are part of the Improving Outcomes for Youth (IOYouth) initiative, an effort by the National Reentry Resource Center to answer the call of state and local jurisdictions struggling to ensure that resources are being efficiently used to help young people who interact with the juvenile justice system succeed.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed the Juvenile Justice Reform Act (Senate Bill 108) on May 28—a crucial step toward aligning the state’s juvenile justice system with what research shows works to improve outcomes for youth, strengthen public safety, and efficiently use resources.
Last week the House Appropriations Committee passed a Commerce-Justice-Science bill that includes funding for three programs in FY2020—the Second Chance Act, the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act, and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative—aimed at increasing public safety and reducing recidivism at the local and state levels.
As April comes to a close, so does Second Chance Month, a time designated to focus attention on the millions of people returning from prison or jail each year. Ensuring their reentry back into communities is safe and successful matters to everyone. So it’s heartening to reflect on the momentum that now exists, and begin defining the future of reentry.
“Reentry is a process. It begins when individuals first enter our corrections system, not when they are about to exit it. We assess their needs, engage them in a plan for the future, provide them opportunities for positive change through treatment and programming, and equip them with job skills and healthy relationship habits.”
“Since the Second Chance Act was implemented, more than 160,000 men, women, and youth have benefitted from Second Chance Act grants. For example, in my home state of Wisconsin, we saw a 20 percent decrease in recidivism over a 10-year period after implementing reentry support programs. I’d call that a success.”
“The vast majority of people in our criminal justice system will one day be released. We all have a stake in ensuring they can succeed. It reduces recidivism and saves money. It’s also just the right thing to do.”
Congressional leaders in April took strong bipartisan action in support of three programs in FY 2020—the Second Chance Act, the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA), and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI)—aimed at increasing public safety and reducing recidivism at the local and state levels.
For people who have been convicted of a crime, a second chance can mean greater opportunity for a productive life. As governor, I’ve made a priority of exploring ways that we give the people inside our prisons and jails a bona fide second chance by preparing them for life before they leave prison.
“Every citizen in the state benefits when a person comes out of prison as a healthy and productive member of society. The truth is this: the vast majority of people who are currently incarcerated in our state will be released back to their community at some point.”
“People released from the criminal justice system become our neighbors when they reenter our communities, and it’s in everyone’s best interest that they are well-positioned to become productive members of the community with dignity and opportunities to succeed.”
Recently, the National Reentry Resource Center, with funding support from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, launched the Clean Slate Clearinghouse, which helps support juvenile and adult criminal record clearance.
“We all benefit when individuals leaving prison have a place to live, a chance at higher education, and a good job. Studies show that having a clear pathway to reenter society reduces recidivism. It’s good for all our citizens—and our taxpayers—if people leaving incarceration become productive members of society.”
“Reentry means providing those in our criminal justice system with a path forward to becoming productive members of society after they have served their time. From the very beginning, America has been a land of second chances.”
“As a new governor, I have great respect for the innovative work that past Connecticut leaders have done to reduce our prison population and prepare people for their return to the community—all while driving crime down. But we have to build on that success. There’s far more work to be done to ensure that Connecticut is as safe and successful as possible.”
Learn how the National Reentry Resource Center can help weave the numerous threads of successful reentry together to promote safety, collaboration, and second chances. Follow us on social media with the hashtag #ReentryMatters.
Policymakers, corrections officials, practitioners, and other leaders plan to commemorate Second Chance Month—celebrated throughout April—with a host of activities highlighting efforts to support people transitioning from prison or jail back into the community.
These speeches come against a backdrop of national criminal justice reform. In December 2018, President Donald Trump signed the First Step Act into law, which included the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, a bipartisan law that provides funding for reentry programs across the country.
President Trump signed the omnibus fiscal year (FY) 2019 spending bill, which provides $30.9 billion for the U.S. Department of Justice and includes $3.02 billion for various state and local law enforcement assistance grant programs.
This guide prepared by the National Reentry Resource Center is intended to support recipients of Second Chance Act Statewide Adult Recidivism Reduction Strategic Plan Implementation Program grants funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
This guide prepared by the National Reentry Resource Center is intended to support recipients of Second Chance Act Innovations in Supervision Initiative: Building Capacity to Create Safer Communities grants funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
This guide prepared by the National Reentry Resource Center is intended to support recipients of Second Chance Act Innovations in Reentry Initiative: Reducing Recidivism through Systems Improvement grants funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
This guide prepared by the National Reentry Resource Center is intended to support recipients of Second Chance Act Improving Reentry for Adults with Co-occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Illness grants funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
This guide prepared by the National Reentry Resource Center is intended to support recipients of Second Chance Act Comprehensive Community-Based Adult Reentry Program grants funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
This guide prepared by the National Reentry Resource Center is intended to support recipients of Second Chance Act Comprehensive Community-Based Adult Reentry Program grants funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
This guide prepared by the National Reentry Resource Center is intended to support recipients of Second Chance Act Adult Reentry and Employment Strategic Planning Program grants funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
It’s widely known that jails and prisons can be violent and stressful places to work. But the well-being of corrections officers has rarely been the subject of formal study.
Michael P. Boggs, a Georgia Supreme Court justice, has been appointed chair of The Council of State Governments Justice Center’s Advisory Board.
In November 2018, WI DOC’s Oakhill Correctional Institution (OCI) opened an in-house job center to help people who are incarcerated prepare for employment after they reenter the community.
I arrived at the CSG Justice Center aware that the field of criminal justice has changed dramatically since our inception in 2007, presenting our organization and others with new challenges and exciting opportunities. As we entered our second decade, I felt that we first needed to be sure we understand who we are, what we stand for, and how we fit into this growing field.
The First Step Act, which passed the U.S. Senate 87-12 and the House 358-36, will usher in significant changes to federal sentencing laws as well as improvements to programs that aim to reduce recidivism and provide support to people who are involved in the criminal justice system.
Gov. Doug Burgum became the latest governor to join the Face to Face initiative, a national call to action encouraging policymakers to personally engage with the people who are closest to the correctional system.
The U.S. Congress recently voted to approve the landmark, bipartisan First Step Act, which also reauthorizes the Second Chance Act.
A large proportion of people in the criminal justice system have substance addictions. While there is an overwhelming need to provide effective treatment, challenges exist in quantifying the extent of that need, providing appropriate treatment programming, and taking a strategic approach across systems.
The new National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction resource compiles thousands of state and federal statutes into a searchable database, making it easier to identify these obscure regulations that can be triggered by a particular conviction.
At the meeting, staff from the CSG Justice Center and Hawaii’s Crime Victim Compensation Commission explored with participants how Hawaii has used five elements—policy, data, agency leadership and workforce, and interagency coordination—to create an effective model for improving the management of victim restitution.
Following four principles of corrections system improvement—organizational development, use of risk and needs assessments, quality improvement, and data collection and management—states like Vermont participate in SRR in an effort to reduce the likelihood of recidivism for every person under correctional supervision.
The CSG Justice Center has released an updated version of the 50-State Report on Public Safety that includes 2017 crime and arrest data. The report is a web-based resource that combines extensive data analyses, case studies and recommended strategies from all 50 states to help policymakers address their state’s specific public safety challenges.
At a recent North Dakota Justice Reinvestment Oversight Committee meeting, CSG Justice Center staff highlighted recent decreases in prison admissions that resulted from alcohol and drug offenses and probation revocations. These declines seem to be the cause of a 6.5-percent drop in the state’s total prison population in FY2018, which exceeded expectations, and have reinforced the state’s efforts to increase behavioral health services for people in the criminal justice system.
CSG Justice Center staff spoke with four Second Chance Act Innovations in Reentry Initiative grantees about their experiences fostering effective partnerships between criminal justice practitioners and the researchers evaluating their programs. These programs span the country and the justice system, serving clients within courts, prisons, jails, and in the community.
“I have the motivation to be in control of my own choices—for how I see my future and how I see my children’s future,” Darius Dennis said. “That’s what the program taught me. So it was absolutely the right thing for me at the right time.”
The primary function of correctional supervision was once seen as control and custody; however, corrections agencies have increasingly come to recognize that focusing on rehabilitation and planning for reentry are fundamental to their missions to increase public safety.
Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas became the latest governor to participate in Face to Face (#MeetFacetoFace), an initiative that encourages policymakers to connect with people closest to the correctional system. He joins 13 other governors—7 Republicans and 6 Democrats—that have participated in the initiative.
Bettie Kirkland, the executive director of Project Return in Nashville, joins For the Record to discuss her organization’s work connecting hundreds of people who have criminal records to employment each year and reflects on what it means to ensure they have a chance at success.
After 24 visits to Connecticut prisons, Gov. Dannel Malloy decided it was time others got to see what he’d seen. “After the experiences I’ve had,” Malloy said, “we just got to thinking that it would be good to have people experience it for a day.”
Byron Davis used the end of his sentence in Limestone Correctional Facility near Huntsville, Alabama, to get ready for his next step: searching for work back home in his community, just outside of Birmingham. He intended to put his conviction for dealing drugs behind him. “I don’t want to go back to that,” Davis said. “But I need to work, to make a living.”
The Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved the fiscal year 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, which provides $30.7 billion for the U.S. Department of Justice and includes $2.87 billion for various state and local law enforcement assistance grant programs.
Following four principles of corrections system improvement—organizational development, use of risk and needs assessments, quality improvement, and data collection and management—states like Iowa participate in SRR in an effort to reduce the likelihood of recidivism for every person under correctional supervision.
As the corrections and community supervision paradigms shift toward implementing evidence-based practices and programs (EBPs), there is an emerging need for leaders in the field to ensure accurate application of EBPs throughout the workforce and improve how staff monitor program outcomes.
What constitutes success is ensuring that, whenever possible, youth receive supervision and services that support them to avoid further contact with the justice system and transition safely to adulthood.
Esta Bigler, the director of the Cornell University Industrial and Labor Relations School’s Labor and Employment Law program, joins For the Record to discuss her work regarding record clearance as a lawyer, which has ranged from creating educational programming to working on a groundbreaking U.S. Supreme Court case.
“Part of the success of this has been an openness to identifying how we can do things differently in our community when it comes to mental health care and the criminal justice system,” said Paula Verrett, a NAMI recovery specialist who has worked directly with the OCMHC since its inception.
A disproportionate number of people in the nation’s criminal justice system face mental health issues: a Bureau of Justice Statistics report found, for example, that people in U.S. prisons and jails are three to five times more likely to experience serious psychological distress than the general adult population. While there is an overwhelming need to provide effective treatment, challenges exist in quantifying the extent of that need and taking a strategic approach across systems—from law enforcement to community-based reentry services.
As policymakers continue to focus on the importance of safe and successful reentry among people leaving prisons and jails, and with President Trump designating April 2018 “Second Chance Month,” a group of national leaders paused recently to reflect on the impact of the Second Chance Act—a law passed in 2008 that has supported work to improve reentry outcomes in communities throughout the country.
Since the initiative’s launch late last year, a bipartisan group of 13 governors—7 Republicans, 6 Democrats—have participated in Face to Face events.
The 10th anniversary of the passage of SCA is an opportune moment to reflect on the changes in criminal justice policy and practice that have taken place over time.
By focusing the job of corrections officers on reducing recidivism, the Iowa DOC aimed to use resources in the best way possible, ensure that correctional practices were based on evidence, and track outcome data.
This is the first in a series of posts on aspects of successful reentry. Each post will include curated resources related to the featured reentry topic.
While many approaches were touted, governors urged the use of research-based strategies proven to be effective, including technical skill and workforce development programs as well as addiction and mental health treatment provided during incarceration.
For the Record is produced by the Clean Slate Clearinghouse and features conversations between Rashawn Davis—a policy analyst at The CSG Justice Center—and people who are involved in the criminal record clearance field, including elected officials, lawyers, social workers, and people who have or have had a juvenile or criminal record (or individuals who are all four, or more).
The inaugural episode of For the Record features an interview with criminal justice reform advocate Khalil Cumberbatch, an associate vice president with the Fortune Society and someone who has an intimate knowledge of the series’ subject: he spent almost seven years in prison, and four years after that with a criminal record until he received a pardon in 2014.
The White House, joined by a bipartisan pair of governors, led a discussion with executives from large and small businesses on the challenges and benefits of hiring people who have criminal records.
When Dave’s Killer Bread managers find out an applicant has a record, they see it not as a deterrent, but as “an opportunity to have a candid conversation about that person’s past and what they’re looking for in the future.”
“They knew I had a record, but I was never judged,” Haley George said. “They don’t treat me like I’m a number at that plant, they treat me like I’m a person.”
The Middlesex, Massachusetts, Sheriff’s Office opened a new jail unit specifically for young adults this month. Established in partnership with the local nonprofit UTEC and the Vera Institute of Justice, the specialized unit—called People Achieving Change Together (PACT)—seeks to reduce recidivism by offering tailored programming to young people between the ages of 18 and 24 at the Middlesex Jail and House of Correction.
This guide prepared by the National Reentry Resource Center is intended to support recipients of Second Chance Act Reentry Program for Adults with Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Disorders grants.
This guide prepared by the National Reentry Resource Center is intended to support recipients of Second Chance Act Innovations in Supervision Initiative: Reducing Prison Populations, Saving Money, and Creating Safer Communities grants.
This guide prepared by the National Reentry Resource Center is intended to support recipients of Second Chance Act Innovations in Reentry Initiative: Focus on Evidence-Based Strategies for Successful Reentry from Incarceration to Community grants.
This guide prepared by the National Reentry Resource Center is intended to support recipients of Second Chance Act Statewide Adult Recidivism Reduction Strategic Planning Program grants
“The connections through Pathfinders [are] really what made the difference for me,” Steimbridge said. On top of the short-term housing assistance she received, she also credits Pathfinders’ individualized mentoring support with helping her stay on track in recovery.
The Council of State Governments (CSG) recently announced that Megan Quattlebaum, research scholar in law at Yale University Law School and lecturer in law at Columbia University Law School, will be the next director of The CSG Justice Center.
A 55-year-old U.S. Army veteran, Ronald Forbes is on the brink of expanding his Oakland, California-based catering company in partnership with his sister, Catherine. Soon, he’ll move the business to a commercial space, but for now he’s practicing his recipes for barbecue chicken, ribs, and his mom’s potato salad at home.
Staff and a program participant of the Middle Tennessee Rural Reentry (MTRR) Program in Franklin County, TN, a 2015 Second Chance Act Technology-Based Career Training grantee, recently offered insights to fellow grantees as part of the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC) training event Engaging Local Employers in Promising Practices for Hiring People Who Have Criminal Records.
When Jamel Bonilla (pictured left) was released from the Middleton House of Correction, he knew what he needed most to stay out of prison. “I needed work,” Bonilla said. “I needed money.”
As of September 2017, 51 Vocational Village program participants had been released on parole, 16 of which had secured employment prior to their release. Thirty-eight of the 51 are currently employed.
During their visit, Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg met with inmates participating in Iowa’s largest apprenticeship program, in addition to leading a roundtable discussion with many of the program’s stakeholders and local business leaders where they discussed the importance of providing reentry services and employment opportunities for those being released from prisons and jails.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections was one of five organizations in the country to receive the 2017 Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award from the National Criminal Justice Association for its High-Risk Revocation Reduction program.
When Sharon Hadley arrived at Santa Maria Hostel in July 2012, she had just completed the latest in her decade-long string of sentences for drug-related offenses. “Now that I look back over my life, I can see how the wheels started coming off even before I really knew it,” Hadley said. “I recidivated 13 times. Each incarceration was longer and longer, and I was more and more hopeless.”
With Second Chance Act grant funding, Santa Maria Hostel began employing recovery coaches in 2013 to provide additional, one-on-one support to women in its Paths to Recovery program to help them meet their reentry goals. Recovery coaches also help connect participants to housing, education, and employment services.
The Back to a Future program, based in Palm Beach County, Florida, has worked in close collaboration with probation partners at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice since its inception in 2013.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, on Aug. 16, discussed mental health treatment and “second chances” during a tour of a women’s correctional facility in Denver, where he had the opportunity to #MeetFacetoFace with corrections officers and the people incarcerated there. “Prisoners are often forgotten … out of sight out of mind,” Gov. Hickenlooper said. “I think there are better ways of dealing with their lives than just locking them up in a box.”
Launched on Monday, Aug. 14, Face to Face—an initiative sponsored by the National Reentry Resource Center and The Council of State Governments Justice Center in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators, JustLeadershipUSA, and the National Center for Victims of Crime—challenges all elected officials to participate in a series of public activities through which they can interact with people who are in prison or jail, corrections officers, victims of crime, and others who have firsthand experience with the correctional system.
The initiative—sponsored by the National Reentry Resource Center and The CSG Justice Center in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators, JustLeadershipUSA, and the National Center for Victims of Crime—will launch with a wave of public activities featuring both Republican and Democratic governors and other elected officials meeting with people impacted by the correctional system in their respective states.
Staff at the CSG Justice Center talked to three reentry programs with promising training practices about their experiences developing and delivering training to volunteer mentors.
As you may know, Michael D. Thompson, the director of The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, informed the leadership of the CSG Justice Center’s board and David Adkins, CEO of the Council of State Governments, that he would be leaving the organization at the end of June to join The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed legislation on June 16 in Carson City that seeks to strengthen public safety and improve outcomes for youth in that state’s justice system.
As the leaders of Old Pueblo Community Services (OPCS) can attest, the landscape of housing and reentry services is never static. For this nonprofit organization that serves people at risk of homelessness in Pima County, Arizona, the communities they work in, their clients, funding streams, and research into best practices all evolve over time—and OPCS’ leaders recognize the importance of evolving along with that landscape.
The National Reentry Resource Center and The Council of State Governments Justice Center recently released two briefs at an event on Capitol Hill highlighting efforts to reduce recidivism in communities throughout the country.
The CSG Justice Center staff spoke with board member Michael Pinard—the Francis and Harriet Iglehart Professor of Law and co-director of the Clinical Law Program at the University of Maryland (UM) Francis King Carey School of Law—about his thoughts on record clearance, drawing on his experiences as a public defender, professor, and co-founder of UM’s Reentry Clinic.
The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, in partnership with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, has been awarded a $500,000 contract to help support businesses in hiring people with criminal records. The proposal was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Reentry Resource Center in a competitive process from a pool of more than 60 applicants.
New York Nonprofit (NYN) Media recently recognized Stephanie Akhter, the CSG Justice Center’s Reentry and Employment Program director, as one of 30 Front-Line Heroes chosen from a pool of 250 nominees.
“I’ve been in and out of jail for the last 20 years, and this [group] taught me it was time to grow up and stop doing the things I was doing,” Rich said. “Having people who care about how you’re doing and who can lift your spirits is important.”
“Through this task force, we hope to assess how state and local resources are being used to create better outcomes for the youth who are in our juvenile system,” Gov. Susana Martinez said.
In partnership with the Harvard Kennedy School, the CSG Justice Center convened a meeting of researchers, policymakers, and criminal and juvenile justice agency leaders, who engaged in discussion about translating developmental research into practice in order to improve outcomes for young adults in the justice system.
The NRRC released a white paper that presents a model to support the implementation of Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) principles through a standardized five-level risk and needs assessment system.
Held in Washington, DC, in early February, the National Mentoring Summit featured several sessions that focused specifically on mentoring black youth, cultural competency, and diversity.