As 700,000 inmates head home from prison each year, city, state, and federal officials are launching an unparalleled number of programs to help keep ex-offenders from committing new crimes, says USA Today. Influenced by concerns about rising crime rates in some cities and incarceration costs spiraling out of control, communities are taking steps that include making sure parolees have valid state identification cards and offering tax credits to businesses that hire ex-offenders.
“We are seeing really an unprecedented number of governors, state legislatures, mayors and county executives launching comprehensive prisoner re-entry initiatives,” says Michael Thompson of the Council of State Governments Justice Center. “Returns to prisons are as high as they’ve ever been  And that has a huge public safety impact and cost.” New Jersey next month will launch “Another Chance” to provide job training, health assistance, and other services to 1,300 prisoners. California will create at least 32 prisoner re-entry facilities, allowing inmates to spend the last 12 months of their sentences receive anger management training and other services. Michigan increased funding for its Prisoner ReEntry Initiative to $33 million from $12 million, allowing it to expand from 15 areas to the entire state by late 2008.