The Reentry Coalition of Philadelphia is seeking to coordinate, for the first time, the dozens of groups working on one of the city’s most daunting challenges: How to change the script for the tens of thousands of people released from jail and prison each year, reports Philly.com. City officials say it represents one of the largest efforts of its kind in the nation, and it has an ambitious goal: to cut recidivism by 25 percent in five years.
At a coalition event yesterday, Mayor Jim Kenney said he visited inmates in Philadelphia jails in recent months and concluded, “These individuals can become productive citizens, fathers, mothers, and family members – and taxpayers.” He added, “reentry is an incredibly complex challenge in a city as large as Philadelphia. The government cannot do this alone.” The project is off to a slow start. In its first year, the coalition has struggled just to identify all the players and bring them aboard under a formal membership agreement. There are no data yet on who’s getting services or what the outcomes are, and there won’t be for some time.