Reentry programs and reentry courts are designed to help returning citizens successfully "reenter" society following their incarceration, thereby reducing recidivism, improving public safety, and saving money.
A primary focus of our reentry efforts is to remove or reduce barriers to successful reentry, so that motivated individuals - who have served their time and paid their debt to society - are able to compete for a job, attain stable housing, support their children and their families, and contribute to their communities.
Local Reentry Program
The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska has recognized the importance of successful reentry. By working with our law enforcement and community partners, we are integrally involved in the development and implementation of creative solutions to address reentry barriers. We recognize that helping individuals return to productive lives after incarceration will make the District of Alaska a safer community. As part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska supports locally based reentry efforts and partners with eight Reentry Coalitions throughout the state. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska has a designated reentry coordinator.
Reentry improves public safety. Approximately two million adults are incarcerated in state prisons and local jails. Nationally, two out of every three people released from state prisons are rearrested for a new offense and about half are reincarcerated within three years. Reducing recidivism is critical for increasing long-term public safety and lowering corrections costs.
Individuals who have been incarcerated can expect their future earnings to be reduced by about 40 percent after they return to their communities. Reentry efforts seek to reduce barriers to employment so that people with past criminal involvement – after they have been held accountable and paid their dues – can compete for work opportunities.
There is often a lack of continuity in care from inside the prison to the community. Reentry efforts can help ensure that the Affordable Care Act and other reforms will significantly increase access to appropriate physical and behavioral health interventions after release from incarceration. Substance abuse can be a significant impediment to successful reentry and a major health concern. Addressing the root causes of substance abuse leads to improved public safety.
Education is a core resource for release preparation and is an evidence-based tool for reducing recidivism among adults and juveniles. Participation in education programming was associated with a 16 percent reduction in recidivism in one study. Education is also a critical building block for increasing employment opportunities.
Stable housing with appropriate supportive services is a key factor in preventing homelessness and reducing recidivism. The goal is to reduce barriers to public and subsidized housing, and advance promising models that improve outcomes for people who repeatedly use corrections and homeless services.
The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska prioritizes and supports local reentry efforts as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative. The Reentry Simulation is an educational outreach event which highlights the struggles and challenges faced by individuals who are transitioning from incarceration back into their communities. The Reentry Simulation provides an opportunity for participants to gain an understanding of the significant obstacles and barriers faced by men and women upon their release from incarceration and return to their communities. The Reentry Simulation provides visibility into the perspectives of the returning citizens who those in the field are tasked to help. The District’s aim is to represent a realistic landscape of what individuals face when coming home. By experiencing these complex obstacles and barriers which reentrants must navigate post release, participants not only gain visibility into their individual perspective, but also discover innovative ways to help reentrants succeed. Successful reentry into the community is something which is difficult. It is a complex process. Since each person has different individual needs, resources, and histories, each person's life path is different. Successful reentry is not something that happens automatically upon release from incarceration but is something which has a greater chance of occurring if planned for accordingly.
Over the course of about an hour, participants experience a simulated first month of post-release life. Each week takes place in a 15-minute segment. In between each of these segments, Reentrants are required to complete a probation check in, and depending on how successful they were in satisfying the conditions of their release and accomplishing their assigned tasks, the Reentrants are either remanded to jail, or returned to their assigned housing.
Partnering with Reentry Coalitions throughout the state, the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska, has co-hosted over 20 simulations since 2019, and educated well over 1,500 people on the challenges to reentry. The events have been well received, and attended by legislators, prosecutors and defense attorneys, social service providers, mental health professionals, employers and employment assistance professionals, criminal justice professionals, law enforcement, probation, parole and corrections professionals, religious organizations, high school and college students.
To schedule a Reentry Simulation in your community, contact Yulonda Candelario, Reentry Coordinator at (907) 271-3303.
Please visit the following resources for more information about reentry:
National Reentry Resource Center