National Reentry Week

National Reentry Week

National Reentry Week, April 24-30, 2016

National Reentry Week, April 24-30, 2016

National Reentry Week: After Action Report

During the inaugural National Reentry Week, the Department of Justice 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. Our 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.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch and HUD Secretary Julian Castro announce DOJ initiatives to promote reentry and HUD initiatives that support juveniles with criminal backgrounds who live in public housing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Photo provided by the Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentLeaders from across the Administration traveled during National Reentry Week in support of these many events and encouraged federal partners and grantees to work closely with stakeholders like Federal Defenders, legal aid providers, and other organizations to increase the impact of this effort. We made full use of the media to further the public awareness campaign: Department representatives granted media interviews, issued press releases, published op-ed articles, posted blog entries, tweeted (#reentryweek), and attended live-streamed events. For example:

  • Over 75 resource fairs connected individuals with housing, legal aid, community-based reentry services and other vital resources. Many fairs gave people an opportunity to reinstate a driver’s license or obtain an identification card in preparation for a successful transition to society. There  were also opportunities to learn more about public benefits, including Medicaid, Social Security, and veteran’s benefits.

  • At over 65 employment-related events, recently-released individuals had the opportunity to connect with employers and job search resources. Many Bureau of Prisons facilities hosted mock interview sessions, resume workshops, and workshops on financial literacy.

  • Over 75 reentry presentations were made to inmates and reentering individuals on the barriers they may face upon reentry. Presentations were made both by community representatives and those who have reintegrated successfully.

  • Over 35 family-related events provided individuals with information that will assist them with their release, including key information on child support modifications. At many of these events, inmates were able to engage and interact with their children through arts and crafts, board games, poetry slams, puzzles, and other family-building activities.

  • Over 30 stakeholder meetings brought together all parties that have a stake in the reentry process (e.g., courts, probation, public defenders, prosecutors, community groups, and legal aid). Discussion topics included employers’ concerns about hiring people that have been formerly incarcerated and ensuring that reentering individuals have the resources they need to be successful.

  • Over 25 graduation ceremonies were held—from reentry court programs to GED and vocational training programs.

  • During more than 25 reentry simulations, community partners experienced the real-life issues facing reentering individuals, focusing on such hurdles as job searching, drug testing, having a probation officer, dealing with outstanding warrants, and finding affordable housing.

The variety of events and announcements highlighted both the momentum behind reentry  improvements and the diverse array of stakeholders that have a critical role in a person’s transition from incarceration back into the community.