Day 67 – Re-entering Life After Incarceration

BJS: According to a 2018 Update on Prisoner Recidivism conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 68% of released prisoners were arrested within 3 years, 79% within 6 years, and 83% within 9 years. Forty-four percent (44%) of released prisoners were arrested during the first year following release.

Huff Post: One in every three black males born today can expect to go to prison at some point in their life, compared with one in every six Latino males, and one in every 17 white males, if current incarceration trends continue. Unfortunately, incarceration is not only reflects the racial disparities inherent within our criminal justice system, it also intergenerational.

National Institute of Justice: Family members of incarcerated individuals are often referred to as “hidden victims” — victims of the criminal justice system who are neither acknowledged nor given a platform to be heard. Children whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system, in particular, face a host of challenges and difficulties: psychological strain, antisocial behavior, suspension or expulsion from school, economic hardship, and criminal activity.

There is particular concern that a parent’s imprisonment will lead to a cycle of intergenerational criminal behavior. One statistic indicates that children of incarcerated parents are, on average, six times more likely to become incarcerated themselves. It is vital that we, as a society, provide every opportunity for those re-entering society outside prison to get a fresh start, a real second chance. Not only for themselves, but for the next generation… and the next generation after that.

One major factor impacting recidivism is employment. Employment is the single most important factor in decreasing recidivism. Recidivism rates were nearly cut in half for former inmates who have full-time jobs compared with those who are unemployed. 85% – 89% of ex-offenders who are re-arrested are unemployed, according to Prison to Employment Connection.

Prison Policy Initiative: Formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of over 27% — higher than the total U.S. unemployment rate during any historical period, including the Great Depression and is five times higher than among the general public (pre-Covid). Evidence shows that having a record reduces employer callback rates by 50%.

In light of these sobering facts and obstacles, organizations that help ex-convicts overcome the stigma and inertia of their past is essential. Gov1 lists their Top 5 recidivism reducing programs with the highest rates of success including the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, which connects released felons with executives and entrepreneurs. This re-entry program focuses on teaching leadership and innovation skills. Donate.

For those looking for resources near you, LionHeart provides a list of re-entry programs by state here.