A Call to Action: Reducing Recidivism through Collaboration
Citizens across the United States are concerned because 600,000 inmates are returning to society each year. The prison reentry crisis is especially bad news for the disadvantaged communities to which most ex-prisoners will return. But the news is even worse for those men and women leaving prison.
Most prisoners are unprepared to leave and are unrealistic about their chances to "make it" outside of prison in society. Generally, returning citizens do not have the education, skills, or positive social supports necessary to assist them in returning to society. As a result, many of them commit new crimes in the few weeks or months after their release.
Most states don't have enough money to "fix the problem." We need a new series of public-private partnerships that will enlist thousands of new volunteers to assist correctional professionals in the delivery of much needed educational and vocational programs, not only in prisons, but in the communities to which prisoners will be returning. Reentry Essentials is the perfect example of such an effort and works to reduce recidivism and the substantial human and social costs resulting from it.
The realities of recidivism open a new window of opportunity for society to do something about the mass release of prisoners back into our communities. Shrinking budgets are making it necessary to consider new approaches that emphasize cooperation between public-private entities in order to help former prisoners remain crime-free after leaving prison. Innovative approaches like those developed and supported through Reentry Essentials will only be successful if new volunteers and groups are encouraged to partner with government agencies in confronting the prison reentry crisis.