Department of Justice Announces New Reforms to Federal Bureau of Prisons
April 25, 2016 - 10:11 AM
As part of National Reentry Week, Attorney General Lynch today in Philadelphia announced the “Roadmap to Reentry,”
the Department’s comprehensive vision to reduce recidivism through
reentry reforms at the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). These efforts
will help those who have paid their debt to society prepare for
substantive opportunities beyond the prison gates, promote family unity,
contribute to the health of our economy, advance public safety and
sustain the strength of our communities.
Each year, more than 600,000 citizens return to our neighborhoods
after serving time in federal and state prisons. Another 11.4 million
individuals cycle through local jails. And nearly one in three
Americans of working age have had some sort of encounter with the
criminal justice system — mostly for relatively minor, non-violent
offenses, and sometimes from decades in the past. The long-term impact
of a criminal record prevents many people from obtaining employment,
housing, higher education, and credit — and these barriers affect
returning individuals even if they have turned their lives around and
are unlikely to reoffend.
The principles outlined in the “Roadmap to Reentry” are aligned with the work of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council
which has been working since its creation five years ago to reduce
recidivism and improve employment, education, housing, health and child
PRINCIPLES TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM THROUGH REENTRY REFORMS AT THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS
Upon incarceration, every inmate should be provided an
individualized reentry plan tailored to his or her risk of recidivism
and programmatic needs.
The Department is enhancing BOP’s risk and needs assessment tools to
inform development of reentry plans tailored to the specific
criminogenic needs of each incarcerated individual.
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.
The Department, through BOP, has launched an effort to assess its
education programs, life skills programs, and job skills programs to
ensure these programs are evidence-based and targeted to the
criminogenic needs of inmates.
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.
The Department is enhancing the number and types of opportunities
available for people in federal prisons to strengthen family
relationships during their term of incarceration.
During transition back to the community, halfway houses and
supervised release programs should ensure individualized continuity of
care for returning citizens.
In order to ensure that Residential Reentry Centers (RRC) are
fulfilling their vital role in the reentry process, the Department, with
assistance from outside consultants, is undertaking a robust evaluation
and assessment of the RRC experience to develop a specific plan for
implementing improvements to the existing RRC model that will provide
residents enhanced reentry support and reduce recidivism.
Before leaving custody, every person should be provided
comprehensive reentry-related information and access to resources
necessary to succeed in the community.
The Department is developing reentry-specific tools and support
services to help returning citizens succeed after leaving federal
As part of the national effort to increase awareness about these
challenges, the Attorney General also sent a letter to governors with a
request to permit citizens returning to their communities to exchange
their Bureau of Prisons inmate identification card and authenticated
release documentation for state identification, or for these documents
to satisfy the primary identification document requirement for
state-issued identification. Without government-issued identification,
men and women leaving correctional facilities face extreme challenges
securing employment and housing, registering for school, opening bank
accounts as well as accessing other benefits, such as health care, that
are critical to successful reintegration.
Leadership from across the Administration will be traveling around
the country to make policy announcements in support of National Reentry
Week. They will also be encouraging federal partners and grantees to
work closely with stakeholders like federal defenders, legal aid
providers and other partners across the country to increase the impact
of these efforts. National Reentry Week events are being planned in all
50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin
Islands. U.S. Attorney’s Offices alone are hosting over 200 events and
BOP facilities are holding over 370 events.
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