Each year, more than 600,000 citizens return to our neighborhoods after serving time in federal and state prisons. Another 11.4 million individuals cycle through local jails. And nearly one in three Americans of working age have had some sort of encounter with the criminal justice system — mostly for relatively minor, non-violent offenses, and sometimes from decades in the past. The long-term impact of a criminal record prevents many people from obtaining employment, housing, higher education, and credit — and these barriers affect returning individuals even if they have turned their lives around and are unlikely to reoffend.
In 2013, at the direction of the Attorney General, the Department of Justice launched a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system in order to identify reforms that would ensure federal laws are enforced more fairly and more efficiently. Smart on Crime focuses on Prevention, Enforcement, and Prisoner Reentry into communities. There were five goals identified as a part of this review:
- To ensure finite resources are devoted to the most important law enforcement priorities;
- To promote fairer enforcement of the laws and alleviate disparate impacts of the criminal justice system;
- To ensure just punishments for low-level, nonviolent convictions;
- To bolster prevention and reentry efforts to deter crime and reduce recidivism;
- To strengthen protections for vulnerable population.
Read more about the Department of Justice’s Smart on Crime Initiative
RESOURCES FOR RECENTLY RELEASED INDIVIDUALS
RESOURCES FOR FAITH AND COMMUNITY LEADERS
RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS
Department of Labor Federal Bonding Program provides fidelity bonding insurance coverage to individuals with criminal histories and other high-risk job applicants who are qualified, but who do not get jobs because regular commercial bonding is denied due to their backgrounds.
Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a federal tax credit offered to employers as an incentive to hire targeted groups which have traditionally faced significant barriers to employment.