The Justice Department today announced $110 million in grants for prisoner re-entry programs and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. The department also is starting a new initiative known as Project Reentry “to strengthen our recidivism and reentry work,” Attorney General Eric Holder told a European Offenders Employment Forum in Washington, D.C. Holder noted that, “Many employers are not eager to hire former prisoners, and – in today's economic climate – these individuals often find themselves at the back of the line.”
He also said that in the U.S., 1 in 28 children has a parent behind bars. “These kids often struggle with anxiety, depression, learning problems, and aggression – undermining their own chances to succeed,” Holder said. “In many cases, maintaining family relationships during incarceration can improve the lives of these children and reduce recidivism rates later on.” He added: “When quality, employment-centered programs are made available during and after incarceration, one demonstration showed they can cut recidivism rates in half.” The funding addresses areas including job training, education, mentoring, substance abuse and mental health treatment, family-based services, literacy classes, housing and employment assistance. It includes $10 million for evaluation.