How A NYC Prisoner Re-Entry Center Faces Challenges


Mark Graham runs the Redemption Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., where 17 men and women recently released from prison are trying to find their way back into the world they left, sometimes decades ago, the New York Times reports. It is a shoestring operation, but they have a bed, rules, support, and a chance to find training or a job. Jeremy Travis, the president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, presided last week over a conference that addressed the prisoner re-entry issue. “We have quintupled the per capita rate of incarceration over the last 30 years,” he said. “Many more people are coming back to a small number of communities and facing all these challenges. A very big one is housing.”

Of the 58 clients who have passed through the Redemption Center, 11 have been asked to leave for violating the rules. One is back in prison. Many have managed to find homes outside. “Mark gives you a place that shows you how to get back in step,” said Lavon Turner, who arrived in January after serving more than four years for attempted robbery. “You're not in a house where your family is giving you everything. Here they are helping you. They are your backbone. But at the end of the day, you have to be a stand-up dude. If you are still here after months, it defeats the purpose of this place. That's not independent living.”


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