Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has announced a plan that calls for state agencies to work together to help prison inmates before they are released, to tackle problems such as finding a job, securing a place to live and fighting addictions, reports the Wilmington News Journal. The plan also requires agencies to coordinate their outreach to inmates, to become more effective in how they deliver services and to begin developing a re-entry plan at the start of an inmate’s incarceration, rather than at release.
A national study by the Legal Action Council, a nonprofit advocacy group, ranked Delaware 47th out of 50 states for its re-entry efforts, charging the state makes it far more difficult for a prisoner to return to society and stay out of trouble. The study cited such “roadblocks” as the state making it difficult for felons to get public assistance, housing and drivers' licenses. The state's poor record has been most evident in Wilmington, which last year saw a record-high 26 homicides. In more than half of those cases, the suspects had been in custody less than a year before they were arrested in connection with the slayings.