A federal interdepartmental council on prisoner reentry held its second meeting yesterday, discussing $83 million in funding for programs under the Second Chance Act and the latest in a series of “Reentry Myth Busters,” fact sheets intended to educate employers and others about the impact of federal laws on those who are formerly incarcerated and seeking jobs, housing, and federal assistance or benefits. The new Myth Busters focus on veterans' benefits, voting rights, criminal background checks, taxes, and Medicaid eligibility.
Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson said 131 grants were awarded, chosen from 1,000 applications. Prisoner re-entry could get less federal aid in the fiscal year that begins next week. A House committee voted to provide $70 million, but a Senate committee voted to zero out the program. Advocates are urging Congress to continue funding. Attorney General Eric Holder urged using “every tool at our disposal to tear down the unnecessary barriers to economic opportunities and independence so that formerly incarcerated individuals can serve as productive members of their communities.”