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
In order to better serve the community, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi working with the District Court, U.S. Probation, and the Federal Public Defender’s Office, established a reentry court known as the Second Chance at Life program (SCALE). SCALE offers a creative blend of treatment and sanction alternatives to effectively address offender behavior, rehabilitation, and public safety. Ex-offenders returning to the community after serving custodial sentences face numerous challenges such as: substance abuse, criminal associations, anti-social values, and anti-social personalities. Over a twelve month period SCALE participants address these challenges through a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, urinalysis, and in-court appearances.
Reentry court takes place once per month at the Lee County Justice Center in Tupelo, MS. The court targets ex-offenders who have a high risk for recidivism and provides these individuals with an opportunity to be successful on supervised release. Rather than returning to prison, participants are reconnecting with family, establishing successful careers, and entering into positive relationships with the faith based community. Since SCALE’s inception not a single participant has been subject to revocation proceedings.
Federal Interagency Reentry Council (FIRC)
The FIRC, established by the Attorney General in January 2011, comprises 20 federal agencies representing a significant executive branch commitment to coordinating reentry efforts and advancing effective reentry policies. It is premised on the recognition that many federal agencies have a major stake in prisoner reentry. Learn more
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.