A nonprofit called Roca seeks to steer hundreds of Massachusetts’ highest-risk young men away from a return behind bars, using a distinctive blend of relentlessness and patience. Even troublesome participants are urged to persist with multi-year education and job programs.
Illinois bans some ex-offenders from getting as many as 118 kinds of occupational licenses. Residents with felony convictions can’t be riverboat owners or horse meat processors. Now Illinois is among a handful of states reconsidering their licensing rules and giving ex-offenders a chance.
Recidivism rate is low among ex-inmates who have received mentoring. Says Michael Thompson of the Council for State Governments Justice Center: “It’s a jolt to move from a hyper-controlled environment, especially if you’ve been there for a long time, to the chaos of everyday life.”
The nonprofit Council for Court Excellence “paints a bleak picture” for those with criminal records who seek housing and work in the capital city. Inmates may be returning from federal prisons on the West Coast, making the challenges of returning tougher.
Ceciley Bradford-Jones in Philadelphia has a tough challenge: cut recidivism by local released inmates 25 percent in five years. She wants to start working with offenders earlier and “become a triage door for re-entry.”
Most of the 31 states with expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act have not created large-scale enrollment programs for departing inmates or have spotty coverage. Nineteen states didn’t expand Medicaid, leaving only a small number of prisoners eligible for coverage. President-elect Trump’s vow to repeal the ACA leaves ex-prisoners’ eligibility in doubt.