Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is giving $10,000 a year in municipal tax credits to companies that hire former prisoners and provide them tuition support or vocational training, reports the Associated Press. “This is one of the best crime-prevention programs we’ll ever have,” he said. Michael Thompson of the Council of State Governments Justice Center said the level of interest in finding ways to keep ex-prisoners from repeat offenses is unprecedented: “It’s really quite extraordinary.”
Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, and San Francisco are among cities with agencies already dedicated to ex-offenders; states including Oregon and Oklahoma established councils last year to study re-entry policies. Philadelphia spends $30,000 a year to house each of its more than 9,000 inmates. “You don’t have to be a CPA to do the math,” said Ronald Cuie, director of the mayor’s Office for the Re-entry of Ex-offenders. “The investment on re-entry has a hard-dollar return.” Cuie served more than three years in prison for an aggravated assault fueled by drug and alcohol addiction. Now clean and sober, he still reports to a probation officer.