A reporter from The Delaware State News sent me an email saying that they are preparing a story about reentry problems in Delaware, and did I have any comments? He sent the article below, which I had read before. My response is below.
Excerpts from the Article:
Considering that more than two-thirds of state prisoners are rearrested within three years of release, many US states have created reentry programs designed to help former inmates get back on their feet. The PrisonEd team wanted to see which states make it easiest for released inmates to reintegrate into society.
Let’s dig in. Here are the most and least friendly states for recently released inmates.
California scores highest on friendliness to former inmates. The Golden State has a background check law without a salary cap.
Alaska, which ranked the lowest, has three reentry programs, which is a relatively small amount. The Land of the Midnight Sun also doesn’t have a law about background check positions.
Virginia, which ranked 13th, had the lowest re-incarceration rate in the US in 2013, as 2,588 of the 11,576 inmates released that year were re-incarcerated within three years.
Alabama, which ranked fourth overall, had 19 reentry programs—the most of any state. California, which ranked first overall, had the second-most reentry programs at 13.
The percent of adult citizens who are current or ex-prisoners ranges from 2.5% in West Virginia (the lowest) to 13.5% in Florida (the highest).
The percentages of recidivism for inmates within three years of release vary from 22.4% in Virginia to 66.4% in Alaska.
The PrisonEd team looked at four different data points to determine which states are the friendliest to ex-inmates. We standardized and weighted four metrics before we added them together for each state’s final score: The number of reentry programs: Programs include, but are not limited to, halfway houses, job help, and addiction recovery programs.
The number of current and ex-inmates: The data represents the percentage of current and ex-inmates based on a 2017 report over 60 years by Shannon et al. States that offered a higher percentage of support communities for ex-inmates received a higher score.
Background check restrictions: Some states limit how many years back employers can pull a background check. A few of those states also put a salary cap on this limit, which means the background check restrictions only apply to jobs that pay less than the indicated cap. For example, Nevada has a background check restriction of seven years and no salary cap. So, regardless of the job, employers in Nevada cannot pull more than seven years in a criminal background check. States that had background check limits received a higher score.
Re-incarceration percentages: The data includes three-year re-incarceration rates for prisoners released in 2013. States with a lower re-incarceration percentage received a higher score.
Five states (Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon, and Texas) weren’t considered in the ranking due to insufficient data reporting.
Released inmates often have a difficult time readapting into the community. However, reentry programs have been shown to have a positive impact on ex-convicts’ ability to return to a full life once they are released from prison. To contribute to reentry programs, you can volunteer time or resources to help their bright future. If you are interested in learning more about PrisonEd’s prison education programs and how you can get involved, check out our volunteer program.
Thanks, Ian, and yes. 8/14/19
I counsel those in reentry every day, and the most glaring problems are 1. A lack of effective and affordable treatment programs for addicts, 2. The more than 200 obstacles to reentry, many of which are totally unnecessary!, 3. The lack of public understanding that when we help those in reentry we help our communities, and 4. The lack of will in the Legislature to make easily enacted sweeping changes in the law needed to ease this problem.
So many obstacles could easily be removed. Like, why cannot one get a barber’s or beautician’s license because one has a record?! There should be no barrier at all. As it currently is, one must apply, and then can easily be denied solely because of one’s record.
We also have faaaaaaaaar too many people on probation! Please take a moment to read this, and you may use any parts of it you wish to use: Letter to Editor or Editorial Submission – What a Monster we Have Created! Probation and Parole 2/19/19
Despite the tremendous achievements of Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing and others, there still is a huge need for affordable housing for the many in reentry who are homeless.
I hope that you also will publish this sad and ugly truth: many who can change policies and laws to ease reentry do not simply because they are in the grip of lobbyists and campaign donors who are fighting to keep their truly often useless and redundant jobs, such as the Prison Guard Union. For every 1 person arrested, 29 benefit financially.
Last but not least, the crazy policies concerning “sex offenders”, most of whom have that scarlet letter for looking at pictures, and pose NO threat at all to the public!
Any questions, Ian, give me a call!