Events in Los Angeles Mark National Reentry Week
LOS ANGELES – As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to strengthening the criminal justice system, the Department of Justice has designated the week of April 24-30 as National Reentry Week. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch is holding events this week in several cities to announce new efforts to improve outcomes for justice-involved individuals (see: https://www.justice.gov/reentry). The 94 United States Attorney’s Offices are hosting over 200 events, and Bureau of Prison facilities are holding more than 370 events across the country.
“Too often, justice-involved individuals who have paid their debt to society confront daunting obstacles to good jobs, decent housing, adequate health care, quality education, and even the right to vote,” said Attorney General Lynch. “National Reentry Week highlights the many ways that the Department of Justice – and the entire Obama Administration – is working to tear down the barriers that stand between returning citizens and a meaningful second chance – leading to brighter futures, stronger communities, and a more just and equal nation for all.”
In Los Angeles, there are a series of Reentry Week events, two of which will be open to the media. The public events will include remarks by United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker and Lisa Foster, the Director of the Justice Department’s Office of Access to Justice.
“When people are released from prisons, we need to take steps to ensure they are prepared to reenter society as productive citizens,” said United States Attorney Decker. “For several years, my office has worked with the Court, Pre-Trial Services and the Federal Public Defenders on a sentencing alternative program and a re-entry program. Our work has made a difference in the lives of numerous individuals and the communities in which they now live.”
The Obama Administration has taken major steps to make our criminal justice system fairer, more efficient and more effective at reducing recidivism and helping formerly incarcerated individuals contribute to their communities. Removing barriers to successful reentry helps formerly incarcerated individuals compete for jobs, attain stable housing, and support their families. An important part of that commitment is preparing those who have paid their debt to society for substantive opportunities beyond the prison gates, and addressing collateral consequences to successful reentry that too many returning citizens encounter.
The two public events in Los Angeles took place today:
This morning, United States Attorney Decker and the Director of the Office of Access to Justice attended a news conference where the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Justice Department announced a $100,000 award for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles and Public Counsel to address the challenges justice-involved individuals face when trying to find work and a place to call home. Under the Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program (JRAP), funded through DOJ’s Second Chance Act funds, HUD and DOJ are teaming up to help young Americans who’ve paid their debt to society rehabilitate and reintegrate back into their communities (see: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2016/HUDNo_16-056).
This afternoon, United States Attorney Decker, Federal Public Defender Hilary Potashner and federal judges spoke at the Conviction and Sentence Alternatives (CASA) Program Graduation Ceremony. CASA is a four-year-old program in the United States District Court in which certain individuals participate in a program of Post-Guilty Plea Diversion as an alternative to conviction or imprisonment. CASA provides those individuals a creative blend of treatment, alternative sanctions and incentives to effectively address offender behavior, rehabilitation and the safety of the community. Eight individuals graduated today.