Criminal Justice Reform – Finally

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Today President Obama announced plans towards Criminal Justice Reform, much needed in a country that incarcerates more people than any other. President Obama and his Administration’s plans are sensible and manageable. Furthermore they will, in the long-term, save taxpayers substantial money. Also, with more trained, rehabilitated people in the workforce America’s bottom line will benefit. It seems that everyone will win.

Wait, I feel like I’m forgetting someone…Oh, yes, the Prison Industrial Complex. They won’t benefit as much. You see, for years they’ve been in the business of imprisoning people, in particular, minorities and low income populations. My peers and I like to call it another form of slavery.

Reducing recidivism would undoubtedly have a negative impact not only the prisons and their staff but also their other stakeholders – think uniforms, laundry, landscaping, food, etc. Some towns in America were built around prisons and generations of people have only known the sound of the inmates’ yells greeting them at the heavy steel doors and the powerful sound of cell doors closing.

It’s a cash cow and where there’s money to be made there’s resistance to any effort to make things right, no matter how much sense it makes. That is why sometimes a President does what a President has to do. Kudos President Obama.

global_incarceration_rates.0
Graphic from: Vox http://www.vox.com/2015/7/13/8913297/mass-incarceration-maps-charts

Here’s a Snapshot of the Administration’s Plans:

  • Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program Awards to Support Public Housing Residents
  • Permanent Supportive Housing for the Reentry Population through Pay for Success

“…to address the vicious cycle of poverty, criminality, and incarceration that traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities.”

  • Establishing a National Clean Slate Clearinghouse
  • TechHire: Expanding tech training and jobs for individuals with criminal records

“Each year, more than 600,000 individuals are released from state and federal prisons. Advancing policies and programs that enable these men and women to put their lives back on track and earn their second chance promotes not only justice and fairness, but also public safety.”

  • Banning the Box in Federal Employment
  • Arrests Guidance for Public and other HUD-Assisted Housing
  • Adult Reentry Education Grants

“The President has also called on Congress to pass meaningful criminal justice reform…The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, which recently received a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, would be an important step forward in this effort, by providing new incentives and opportunities for those incarcerated to participate in…programs proven to reduce recidivism, promote successful reentry, and help eliminate barriers to economic opportunity following release. ..reducing overlong sentences for nonviolent drug offenses [will] free up additional resources for investments in other public safety initiatives, including reentry services, programs for mental illness and addiction, and state and local law enforcement.”

cost to incarcerate juveniles
Where are our priorities?

Source: FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Actions to Promote Rehabilitation and Reintegration for the Formerly- Incarcerated. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/11/02/fact-sheet-president-obama-announces-new-actions-promote-rehabilitation November 2, 2015. The White House. Office of the Press Secretary.
Read entire document here > FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Actions to Promote Rehabilitation and Reintegration for the Formerly- Incarcerated

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