Returning to a community can be a huge challenge for individuals who have spent time in a prison environment. The situation becomes even more complicated when the individual has a serious mental illness and/or addiction disorder, and without the proper services they are further at risk of encountering the criminal justice system again.
This year, Attorney General Loretta Lynch designated April 24-30 as National Reentry Week to draw greater attention to the services and supports available for those returning to the community after having spent time in a prison environment. On Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) introduced a "Roadmap to Reentry" -- five guiding principles for reentry reform that will be implemented throughout the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
According to a statement on the DOJ website, "These efforts will help those who have paid their debt to society prepare for substantive opportunities beyond the prison gates; promoting family unity, contributing to the health of our economy, and sustaining the strength of our nation."
The principles are as follows:
Principle I: Upon incarceration, every inmate should be provided an individualized reentry plan tailored to his or her risk of recidivism and programmatic needs.
Principle II: While incarcerated, each inmate should be provided education, employment training, life skills, substance abuse, mental health, and other programs that target their criminogenic needs and maximize their likelihood of success upon release.
Principle III: While incarcerated, each inmate should be provided the resources and opportunity to build and maintain family relationships, strengthening the support system available to them upon release.
Principle IV: During transition back to the community, halfway houses and supervised release programs should ensure individualized continuity of care for returning citizens.
Principle V: Before leaving custody, every person should be provided comprehensive reentry-related information and access to resources necessary to succeed in the community.
To download a PDF version of the Roadmap to Reentry, click here.