Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Black Success Unisex II barber shop is a good example of successful prisoner re-entry into society, says CityLimits.org. Al Gleaton-Mathieu, 46, opened the shop in 1996, two years after returning to Brownsville after a prison term on a drug charge. Even if he is doing well, Gleaton-Mathieu sees a lack of visible social services for the formerly incarcerated in Brownsville – and sees that as going hand in hand with the cycle of recidivism in the neighborhood.
The Justice Mapping Center says the area is one of New York City neighborhoods that sends the most men to prison. A 2006 analysis showed 274 men per 1,000 going to prison from Community District 16, comprising Brownsville and Ocean Hill, and 457 per 1,000 from CD5 next door, which is East New York. That puts them in the top 13 neighborhoods citywide. The center says the same areas have disproportionately high rates of “disconnected youth” who are out of school and out of work, welfare recipients, and foster children. City Limits tells Gleaton-Mathieu’s story and what else government programs are doing, and not doing, for former inmates.