A new Department of Education (DOE) report examines some of the reasons many newly released inmates have such a difficult time finding employment, and offers “a new reentry model” that is designed to reduce the recidivism rate associated with lack of employment.
The far reaching consequences of incarceration extend beyond inmates and formerly incarcerated persons. Families and communities are also affected. The DOE report, “Reentry Education Model: Supporting Education and Career Advancement for Low-Skill Individuals in Corrections,” found:
More than 700,000 incarcerated individuals leave federal and state prisons each year (Guerino, Harrison, and Sabol 2012) making reentry into the community a major concern for federal, state, and local governments.
Within three years of release, four out of 10 prisoners will have committed new crimes or violated the terms of their release and be reincarcerated (The Pew Center on the States 2011).
This cycle of catch-and-release costs states more than $50 billion annually (National Association of State Budget Officers 2011).
Approximately 2.7 million children have an incarcerated parent, and these children are more likely to be expelled or suspended from school than children without an incarcerated parent.
The report goes on to say:
One in three black men, one in eight white men, and one in 14 Hispanic men between the ages of 20 and 34 without a high school credential are incarcerated.
Formerly incarcerated men earn approximately 11 percent less per hour and 40 percent less per year than those who have never been incarcerated.
To rectify the problems face by reentrants, the report recommends that corrections officials, legislators, reentry service providers and educators band together and engage in:
Strengthening and aligning education services provided in correctional institutions and the community to support successful movement between the two.
Establishing a strong program infrastructure to support and improve education services.
Ensuring education is well integrated into the corrections system by making it a critical component of intake and prerelease processes and closely linking it to support and employment services.
Encouraging individuals to identify and achieve education and career goals, while recognizing that their education path is not linear or uniform.
Each step on the continuum requires the institution and community-based education programs and their partners to collaborate, communicate, and work toward a shared vision: helping those who are incarcerated and under community supervision move out of the corrections system and become productive members of society.
The Reentry Education Model report can be found by clicking on the link below.