Justice Department Releases 2016 Federal Interagency Reentry Council Report
The Department of Justice today released A Record of Progress and a Roadmap for the Future – a report of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council (Reentry Council) that provides an overview of the Council’s accomplishments to date and lays out a path forward. Originally an informal collaboration among federal agencies, President Barack Obama formally established the Reentry Council in 2016 with a mission to make communities safer by reducing recidivism and victimization; help those who return from prison and jail to become productive citizens; and save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration. The report charts a course for implementing policy changes and ensuring the council’s efforts continue to serve as a guide to the reentry field.
“All too often, returning citizens face enormous barriers that persist long after they have paid their debts to society – and with over 600,000 people released from federal and state prisons every year, how we treat reentering individuals is a question with far-reaching implications for all of us,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. “That’s why the Reentry Council is dedicated to expanding access to the foundations of a stable life – employment, education, housing, healthcare, and civic participation – so that formerly incarcerated individuals can receive a true second chance, and so that every American can enjoy stronger and safer communities.”
Comprised of more than 20 federal agencies, the Reentry Council works to improve outcomes related to employment, education, housing, health and child welfare. Reentry Council agencies coordinate and leverage existing federal resources; dispel myths and clarify policies; elevate programs and policies that work; and reduce the policy barriers to successful reentry.
The Justice Department first convened the Reentry Council in 2011, in an effort to engage a wide range of federal agencies in developing and advancing innovative and comprehensive approaches to reentry. Over the last five years the Reentry Council has continued to meet in order to expand the range of tools that the government uses to ensure that individuals returning to the community from prison or jail have a meaningful chance to rebuild their lives and reclaim their futures. On April 29, 2016, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum formally establishing the Reentry Council, recognizing the work that the council has achieved thus far, and enabling the council to continue its work going forward. The Reentry Council is co-chaired by Attorney General Lynch and Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz.
In addition to the Reentry Council report, the department is issuing a Reentry Week After Action Report. During the inaugural National Reentry Week the department sponsored over 550 events designed to improve reentry outcomes and raise awareness of the importance of successful reentry. U.S. Attorney’s Offices alone hosted over 200 events, and Bureau of Prisons facilities held more than 370 events. Partners across the federal government also held events – as did state, local and nonprofit agencies across the country. Events took place in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. National Reentry Week took place on April 23 – April 30, 2016.