About 2,000 prisoners return to Washington, D.C., every year — an average of five a day. As many as 60,000 D.C. residents — one in 10 — are felons, 15,000 of them under court supervision, reports the Washington Post. They arrive at the homes of relatives, at halfway houses, and shelters. One-third end up homeless or close to it. Seven of 10 have abused drugs. Half lack a high school diploma. Employers, landlords and even family members often avoid them.
Most emerge ill-equipped to stay out of prison. Two-thirds are re-arrested within three years. Forty percent are sent back to prison. This means more crime, more victims. and more money spent to send them through the justice system again and again. Washington is the only U.S. jurisdiction where the federal government has direct authority for supervising its felons. The federal agency overseeing ex-offenders in the District spends $135 million a year, but former D.C. police chief Isaac Fulwood Jr. said more needs to be spent to ensure that residents get homes and training that will lead to jobs. Allowing people to be idle, he said, is dangerous.