U.S. Attorney's Office to Host Town Hall and Other Events As Part of National Reentry Week
Department of Justice Officials to Join U.S. Attorney Phillips in Local Programs
WASHINGTON –The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia will highlight the issues facing citizens returning to the community after periods of incarceration in a series of events as part of National Reentry Week, including a town hall scheduled for tonight at the Central Union Mission, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips announced.
U.S. Attorney Phillips will be joined at this evening’s program by Acting Associate Attorney General Bill Baer and Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason. They will speak about efforts by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to support those returning to the nation’s communities after serving time in federal and state prisons.
The Obama Administration has taken major steps to make the 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.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and other top officials are making appearances throughout the nation to promote the “Roadmap to Reentry,” the Justice Department’s comprehensive vision to reduce recidivism through reentry reforms at the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Each year, more than 600,000 citizens return to communities after serving time in federal and state prisons. Another 11.4 million people cycle through local jails.
“We have to do more to stop the cycle of crime and violence,” said U.S. Attorney Phillips. “One critical factor in stopping this cycle is to address the serious issues and hurdles that former offenders face when they reenter our communities. We as a community must do all we can to enhance the prospects of our returning citizens to live productive and healthy lives.”
“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 addition to the town hall this evening, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will highlight reentry issues this afternoon in a discussion with a girls’ mentoring group. Assistant Attorney General Mason, of the Office of Justice Programs, is scheduled to attend the program.
The town hall is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. today at the Central Union Mission, 65 Massachusetts Avenue NW. In addition to U.S. Attorney Phillips and the Justice Department officials, representatives from the Neighborhood Legal Services Program of the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizens will be on hand to speak about their efforts to support returning citizens. Participants will have an opportunity to express concerns and ask the speakers questions.
Finally, a roundtable discussion is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the Mickey Leland Transitional Housing Facility in Northwest Washington. U.S. Attorney Phillips is expected to be joined by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division and other officials in a presentation that will cover the barriers returning citizens face in obtaining employment and ways to overcome these obstacles.
NOTE: The event tonight at the Central Union Mission is open to the press. It will take place at 65 Massachusetts Avenue NW. All media must present government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver’s license) as well as valid media credentials. Media check-in begins at 5:30 p.m. EDT. Press inquiries regarding logistics should be directed to Bill Miller at 202-252-6643.