Paying NGOs for each week “they manage to keep formerly imprisoned persons in their charge alive and out of the criminal justice system” could help reduce America’s recidivism rates, says a senior research fellow at the American Institute of Economic Research.
As the nation marks Second Chance Month, two reform advocates say the slow progress of legislation across the country to expunge criminal records has been especially damaging to women ― the fastest growing demographic among incarcerated Americans.
Government funding for reentry services is minimal compared to the roughly $182 billion spent to incarcerate people. As a result, nonprofits helping the formerly incarcerated are struggling for the funds they need to survive.
The burden of lost economic opportunity falls hardest on Black and Hispanic individuals who are disproportionately represented in the justice-involved population, according to a study of formerly incarcerated New Yorkers by the Brennan Center.
A bill introduced by New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman would give inmates aged 55 and older a chance for parole, regardless of their crime, as long as they have served 15 years of their sentence. In an interview with TCR, Hoylman says it’s a way to recognize the potential for rehabilitation.
Some 147 million court records and 101 million arrest records have been posted on the Internet just in the past 10 years—amounting to a minefield for individuals hoping to reintegrate into civil society, according to a new study. Much of the data will remain online forever unless authorities find a way to balance public access with privacy rights, the authors warned.
Contracting out alternative sentencing programs to private companies is an increasingly attractive option for cash-strapped local governments. But it also saddles thousands of low-income offenders with spiraling debt that can send them to prison if they can’t pay, writes an Oregon law professor.
Maryland lawmakers are meeting Wednesday to debate proposed legislation that would end home monitoring costs and prohibit state-funded pretrial services from charging defendants. These fees are even more burdensome to poor people during a public health crisis, write Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore State’s Attorney, and Priya Sarathy Jones, National Policy and Campaigns Director at the Fines and Fees Justice Center.
Even as the justice system begins to embrace serious reform, the benefits have excluded one large group of incarcerated individuals ― those convicted of violent crimes. But the reinstatement of Pell grants, which are available to everyone, might help change an approach based on racial bias and misinformation, writes the policy and advocacy director of the College & Community Fellowship.