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Second Chance: Charting a New Course for Re-Entry and Criminal Justice Reform

NCJ Number
Sasha Abramsky
Date Published
October 2013
36 pages
This report examines the negative consequences and challenges facing individuals as they attempt to reenter society following release from incarceration.
As noted in this report, recent efforts to reduce the Nation's prison population have led to large numbers of people being released from State and Federal prisons each year. Without the proper services and support however, it is very difficult for many of these inmates to successfully reenter their communities. This report examines four barriers identified by the Leadership Conference Education Fund that impact the ability of inmates to reintegrate into society. These four barriers are predatory prison phone rates, inadequate access to education, restrictions on employment, and restrictions on voting. These practices disproportionately affect low-income people and communities of color making it more difficult for recently released offenders attempting to reintegrate into their communities. This report examines the problem of mass incarceration and the factors affecting reentry efforts, including the four barriers identified by the Education Fund. The report offers a set of recommendations to the Federal Government aimed at improving the criminal justice system and making it fairer, more cost-effective, and less harmful. These recommendations include decreasing barriers to reentry by improving educational opportunities and outcomes for incarcerated youth; establishing an office of corrections education and staffing it with experts; adopting fair hiring practices; and creating incentives for States to encourage the automatic restoration of voting rights for recently released offenders. 1 figure and 92 endnotes