Justice Department Releases Strategic Plan for Supporting the Goals of the Federal Interagency Alternatives and Reentry Committee
As part of an all-of-government strategy set forth in the May 2022 Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety, the Justice Department’s newly released report, Rehabilitation, Reentry, and Reaffirming Trust: The Department of Justice Strategic Plan (Strategic Plan), represents its ongoing commitment to strengthening the safety of our communities, while advancing thoughtful, evidence-informed initiatives and reforms throughout the criminal justice system.
The Executive Order established the Federal Interagency Alternatives and Reentry Committee (ARC or Committee), chaired by the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and comprised of the Attorney General and the secretaries of more than a dozen executive agencies. The Committee has been focused on three goals: safely reducing unnecessary criminal justice interactions, supporting rehabilitation during incarceration, and facilitating reentry into society of people with criminal records. As required by the Executive Order, the Strategic Plan outlines a department-wide vision for promoting the Committee’s goals at the federal level, as well as ways the department can support those goals in state and local justice systems through grantmaking, guidance, and technical assistance.
Safely Reducing Unnecessary Criminal Justice System Interactions: The Strategic Plan highlights a number of department initiatives aimed at safely reducing unnecessary criminal justice system interactions, including supporting community-based alternatives for addressing less serious offenses, promoting safe and effective interactions with state and local law enforcement for individuals with mental health and/or substance use conditions, supporting diversion and alternatives to incarceration where appropriate, and addressing the crack-to-powder sentencing disparity in the federal system.
Supporting Rehabilitation During Incarceration: The Strategic Plan emphasizes the myriad ways the department is supporting rehabilitation during incarceration, including by expanding access to correctional education and employment opportunities, providing treatment and other rehabilitative services in Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities, launching a national training and technical assistance hub to guide jail administrators in establishing and maintaining safe and humane facilities, and encouraging access to the ballot box for eligible persons.
Facilitating Reentry Into Society of People With Criminal Records: Given the importance of preparing individuals for release after incarceration, the Strategic Plan outlines a number of department initiatives and programs designed to facilitate successful reentry, including reducing barriers to obtaining critical government-issued identification, promoting continuity of healthcare for individuals returning from incarceration to the community, identifying resources for record clearing and expungement, improving community supervision outcomes, and issuing a Dear Colleague Letter for state and local courts and juvenile justice agencies that addresses common practices around court-imposed fines and fees.
“This Strategic Plan represents the Justice Department’s comprehensive approach to strengthening public safety, advancing public trust, and promoting fairness, transparency, and accountability in our criminal justice system,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “We will continue to support our state and local partners as they undertake the critical work of safeguarding communities and strengthening the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
“Second Chance Month recognizes the promise presented by a new opportunity and a fresh start for individuals as they rejoin their communities,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “The Strategic Plan released today builds on the Justice Department’s commitment to ensuring a criminal justice system that is fair for all—and our obligation as federal law enforcement to lead by example—by promoting rehabilitation, reentry, and public trust.”
“Every day, the criminal justice system touches lives across the country in countless ways—from individuals who are arrested and incarcerated to police officers, victims, families, and communities,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “This Strategic Plan sets forth the Justice Department’s priorities and vision for a better, fairer system for all stakeholders. It is a comprehensive outline of our work to advance public safety through more thoughtful approaches to criminal justice system interactions, rehabilitation and humane treatment during incarceration and detention, and ensuring the necessary supports for individuals to live healthy, productive lives despite a criminal record or past incarceration.”
The department will continue to support both the work of the Committee and the initiatives outlined in the Strategic Plan. In the months and years to come, the department will operationalize and build upon this Strategic Plan to ensure that justice systems nationwide embody the principles of equality, dignity, and justice for all.
The department’s full strategic plan is available here.
The department’s strategic plan fact sheet is available here.