Providing a Second Chance for Re-Entering Prisoners

$8.7M to Address Homelessness and
Reduce Recidivism

Providing a Second Chance for Re-Entering PrisonersOn November 2, 2015, President Obama toured Integrity House, a state-funded drug and rehabilitation program located in Newark, New Jersey. PBS Newshour reported that the President called,

“On the nation to ensure those regaining their freedom get a second chance instead of a return ticket to prison.”

The Star-Ledger reported on the visit’s success from the perspective of one of Integrity House’s residents,

“He was for real, Sharon Boatwright says, because he didn’t shake her hand. The president hugged her instead. “I didn’t want to let go,” she says.

“There are people who have gone through tough times, they’ve made mistakes, but with a little bit of help, they can get on the right path. It’s not too late.”

Obama said at Rutgers University’s law school.

The President joined U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Newark’s former mayor, and current Mayor Ras Baraka in a round table discussion at Rutgers University’s Newark campus.

U.S. Senator Cory Booker has worked to reform the country’s sentencing guidelines.

Senator Booker told NPR:

“The key is providing inmates with the opportunities to succeed once they’ve served their time.

“Our criminal justice system can’t be just about punishment and retribution. It has to be about our best values. We are and always have been a nation of second chances and I hope we always will.”

Booker said.

In Newark, the President announced new actions aimed at helping Americans who’ve paid their debt to society rehabilitate and reintegrate back into their communities.

Each year, more than 600,000 individuals are released from state and federal prisons. Advancing policies and programs that enable these men and women to put their lives back on track and earn their second chance promotes not only justice and fairness, but also public safety.

One of the key measures introduced by the President includes Permanent Supportive Housing for the Reentry Population through Pay for Success. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the Department of Justice (DOJ) have launched an $8.7 million demonstration grant to address homelessness and reduce recidivism among the justice-involved population.

The President has called on Congress to pass meaningful criminal justice reform, including reforms that reduce recidivism for those who have been in prison and are reentering society.

The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, which recently received a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, would be an important step forward in this effort, by providing new incentives and opportunities for those incarcerated to participate in the type of evidence-based treatment and training and other programs proven to reduce recidivism, promote successful reentry, and help eliminate barriers to economic opportunity following release.

By reducing overlong sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, the bill would also free up additional resources for investments in other public safety initiatives, including reentry services, programs for mental illness and addiction, and state and local law enforcement.

Monarch Housing is proud to partner with Integrity House in creating supportive housing.

Click here for the Newshour coverage.

Click here for WNYC coverage.

Click here for the President’s press release and fact sheet.

Click here to read Barry Carter’s column from the Star-Ledger.

Click here for additional coverage from The Atlantic.

Click here to learn more about Integrity House.