Prisoner reentry and homeless featured in NY Times

In this Sunday’s edition of the NY Times they had two article of interest. The first one was on the efforts of Mayor Booker of Newark to develop an effective prisoner reentry program. The second was about a former NY Giants linebacker who is now homeless.

The first article entitled “Seeking Employment for Ex-Cons in Newark” appeared on the front page of the metro section. To read the article click here.

The article notes “The situation epitomizes the way Newark’s two leading problems, crime and unemployment, are intertwined with the huge number of ex-convicts in the city. Some 2,300 men and women pour into the city from prison each year, and 65 percent are rearrested within five years. One in six adult residents of the city has a criminal record.”

It also makes a critical point when it states “With Newark’s unemployment rate stubbornly stuck at twice the state average of 4.9 percent — and criminal history and lack of education leaving many chronically unemployable — Mayor Cory A. Booker has tried to make prisoner re-entry a signature issue, aware that his twin promises of safety and economic vitality depend on it. He is part of a growing national movement of local and state politicians trying to tackle the problem; earlier this month, President Bush signed the Second Chance Act, allocating $165 million annually to their efforts. ‘Up until now, the focus has been putting ex-offenders back in jail,’ complained Fred Davie, president of Public/Private Ventures, a nonprofit group based in Philadelphia that has created prisoner rehabilitation programs in 15 cities and advised the Booker administration. ‘We need a national approach to what has become a national crisis.” To read the full article click here.

The second article appeared in the back of the business section. It was entitled “Help for Those Seeking a Job and a Home”. It focused on the efforts of Praxis Housing Initiatives, a nonprofit group for New York City. One of he participants it focused on was “Roy Simmons, 51, was an offensive lineman for the New York Giants and Washington Redskins in the late 1970s and early ’80s.” It is reminder that even these with good paying jobs can and do end up homeless. “ He ended up homeless “after a friend he had been staying with, asked him to leave. ‘I didn’t have a place to go,’ he said.”

To read the full article click here.