WASHINGTON, DC — This week, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones joined Reps. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Chris Cannon (R-UT), in reintroducing bipartisan prisoner reentry legislation.
Nearly two-thirds of released state prisoners are expected to be re-arrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within three years of their release. Such high recidivism rates translate into thousands of new crimes each year and wasted taxpayer dollars, which can be averted through improved prisoner reentry efforts.
The "Second Chance Act of 2007" allocates $360 million towards a variety of reentry programs. One of the main components of the bill is the funding of demonstration projects that would provide ex-offenders with a coordinated continuum of housing, education, health, employment, and mentoring services. This broad array of services would provide stability and make the transition for ex-offenders easier, in turn reducing recidivism.
"Prisoner reentry is not a partisan issue," said Rep. Tubbs Jones. "It is a common sense issue. The facts are clear — meaningful reentry programs significantly diminish the chance that ex-offenders will return to prison.These programs save taxpayer dollars and increase public safety. So why not
invest in enhancing reentry services in order to end the cycle of recidivism?
"The State of Ohio has one of the largest populations of ex-offenders reentering the community. In 2001, about 24,000 ex-offenders returned to their respective communities in Ohio. Of those ex-offenders, an estimated 6,000 returned to Cuyahoga County, about 5,000 to the City of Cleveland.
Statewide, about 40 percent of ex-offenders returned to prison in 2001. In Cuyahoga County, about 41 percent returned to prison.
"This legislation is critical to successful reentry of offenders. The bill provides as a beginning the essential ingredients necessary to assure public safety and recovery. It will help begin the process of breaking down barriers to successful reentry and allow offenders and their families the tools necessary to break the cycle of criminality."