Posts Tagged ‘Reentry’
Last week Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) introduced the Inmate Work, Education, and Responsibility Curriculum Act (I-WERC) that would provide grants to state and local correctional facilities to implement a 40 hour work week for inmates. The idea here is for prisoners to spend their time learning responsible work ethic and bettering their education. The hope is that inmates will be better prepared to face reentry into society.
Learn more about the bill here.
This week’s issue of the New York Review of Books features three new books written about the implications of incarceration on black men. Each of these books confronts the racial disparities that are present in the United States’ criminal justice system.
Race, Incarceration, and American Values by Glenn C. Loury suggests that mass incarceration has become the “principal vehicle for the reproduction of racial hierarchy in our society” and the system that perpetuates this must be examined closely. Buy on Amazon.
Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice by Paul Butler offers some ideas about how to amend this broken system. One such idea is to create a way for jury members to resist incarceration and acquit even when criminal behavior has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The New York Review of Books reviewer sees this tactic as flawed, but acknowledges that it is powerful in its symbolic qualities. Buy on Amazon.
Releasing Prisoners, Redeeming Communities: Reentry, Race, and Politics by Anthony C. Thompson focuses on the reforms that are needed for giving released prisoners the opportunities to exit the system successfully. Buy on Amazon.
Read the full review of these three books here.
The Council on State Governments’ Justice Center has announced the launch of its National Reentry Resource Center.
The funding for this center comes for the US Department of Justice and the center will provide support for ex-offenders reentering society.
Check out the the resource center’s website.
After leaving prison I didn’t have any problems socializing, because I am a people person. I don’t meet strangers and can function well in most given situations involving people. I had a solid team of eight to ten people who had agreed to be my transition team and help me during my adjustment. All of them had agreed to be a “phone call away,” and promised to help me with any challenges I that i was facing.
I immediately became involved in the activities and events that were close to my heart. I hosted a radio talk show, was a co-host for a tv talk show, assisted in developing town hall and community meetings, worked with organizations that were focused on helping people who had been incarcerated for long periods of time. I became involved in ministries and men’s groups (all of which helped me to develop a personal foundation in society), and a public speaking organization like Toastmasters International. As a motivational speaker I travelled the country, but i also became a board member of organizations like the Innocence Project of New Orleans, La. Coalition for Reform, the Freedom Project, the Teen Summit, the Prison Foundation, am a Senior Justice Fellow with the Soros Foundation, etc., etc. All of these things helped me in my transition. I lived an active life as a leader in prison and I knew that is what I needed to do in society.
There was, however, something that was a challenge for me. I noticed, when I was first released from prison, that I began to have feelings of apprehension when the sun would begin to set. There was a part of me that really didn’t want to be out after dark because I didn’t want to be anywhere where someone might falsely accuse me of anything. Those feelings remained with me for several months, but when I began to travel they begin to diminish.
In the midst of all of my activities stood my transition team of men and women who vowed to help me during my transition. They were true to their word, and were always merely a “phone call away.”
Written by Jennifer Gonnerman, Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett is a moving story of a woman’s struggle to reenter society after spending sixteen years in prison. Find more on the book’s website.
In the United States there are religious communities specifically geared toward ex-offenders. For those living in the Boston area the Coming Home Directory might be a valuable resource.
There is hope for starting life afresh for those who have just been released from prison. The Prison Entrepreneurship Program is helping prisoners learn business skills. The program is based on the idea that prisoners have a huge amount of potential that has just never been put into action.
This program is committed to giving former prisoners the skills needed to succeed. Visit the P.E.P website for more information.
The New York Times wrote a recent article about the Prison Entrpreneurship Program. Click here to read it.