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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Speaking at the European Offenders Employment Forum today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced $110 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 funding for the Second Chance Act reentry grants and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. These two efforts focus on reducing recidivism rates and state and local spending on corrections through the use of evidence-based, smart-on-crime approaches implemented by state, local, tribal and non-profit partners. The department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is administering the grants, research, and training and technical assistance.
“Today’s Department of Justice is dedicated to being smart, not only tough, on crime – and our reentry efforts are no exception,” said Attorney General Holder. “It’s vital that we help ensure that people who want to improve our society, as well as their own circumstances, have opportunities to grow, to learn, and to contribute. By joining together, I believe that we can realize our shared vision of safe, thriving communities.”
According to OJP’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are more than 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States. Ninety-five percent of all people incarcerated today will eventually be released and will return to their communities. The conference, Oct. 7-8 in Washington, D.C., was convened by the National Transitional Jobs Network and the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion to discuss promising practices, policies, and strategies for prisoner reentry.
“We have a responsibility to partner with communities to keep the public safe and to ensure ex-offenders are fully equipped to become productive, law-abiding citizens, ” said Laurie O. Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for OJP, who also spoke at the conference. “This includes supporting community-based programs that are successful, and backed by evidence of effectiveness.”
Funding for Reentry Programs
The Second Chance Act, administered by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, is designed to support state, local and tribal governments, and non-profit organizations in their efforts to provide a full range of adult and juvenile reentry programs. During FY 2010, OJP awarded $100 million to support 178 Second Chance Act grantees across the country.
The funding for reentry programs will address a number of areas, including job training, education, mentoring, substance abuse and mental health treatment, family-based services, literacy classes, housing and employment assistance. In addition, this funding includes $10 million that will be awarded by OJP’s National Institute of Justice to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of reentry programs. And $4.6 million of the $100 million will be used to continue the work of the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC), which provides information, and training and technical assistance to government officials, practitioners, non-profit organizations, and individuals across the country. The NRRC also will develop a reentry “what works” library that will offer searchable, up-to-date information about the most effective programs, policies, and practices for reducing recidivism, increasing employment, decreasing substance abuse, and producing other positive outcomes.
Justice Reinvestment Initiative
Research shows that over the past 20 years, state spending on corrections has grown at a faster rate than nearly any other state budget item, increasing from $10 billion to more than $50 billion a year.
At the conference today, Attorney General Holder emphasized the need to invest in more effective criminal justice and corrections strategies and he announced that $10 million in FY 2010 funding had been awarded to expand the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.
This initiative, launched in 2006, is a data-driven approach that enhances public safety, reduces corrections spending, and redirects savings to alternative criminal justice strategies that decrease crime and strengthen neighborhoods. This approach is a highly strategic effort underway in 20 states, multiple counties and tribal governments to provide state and local policymakers with the resources and tools to increase public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control corrections costs. The FY 2010 funding will enable the Initiative to expand the collection and analyses of corrections, crime, and resource data to include additional states, counties, and tribal governments, as well as to provide technical assistance to implement the policy options identified as a result of these analyses.
Information about the grants awarded under BJA’s FY 2010 Second Chance Act grant solicitation and the grants awarded under BJA’s FY 2010 Criminal Justice Improvement and Recidivism Reduction through State, Local, and Tribal Justice Reinvestment solicitation is available at: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/funding/FY2010_awards_solicitation.htm .