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Reentry Program

[I]mproving rehabilitation programs and reentry outcomes doesn’t just help formerly incarcerated individuals; it’s also good for our communities as a whole. - Attorney General Loretta LynchReentry 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

            On April 22, 2016, the United States Attorneys’ Offices for the District’s of North and South Dakota commemorated the Department of Justice’s 2016 recognition of Reentry Week, a designation meant to focus on programs, resources, and efforts   nationwide to address the problem of ex-convicts’ face upon returning to their communities.  As part of an effort to address hurdles faced by this returning population the Districts of North and South Dakota have teamed up with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as well as, the States of North and South Dakota, to include members of each State’s Department of Corrections and their Parole and Probation Departments, State Tribal Liaison Office’s and Federal Parole and Probation to institute a new Reentry Program on the reservation.

            As a first step in instituting this new Reentry Program the tribe recognized the first two volunteer mentors, Alan Flying By and Emily Yellow Earrings.  Both Alan and Emily are tribal members that have been to prison and have successfully reintegrated back into their communities.  Allan was provided his first two male mentees and Emily was provided her first two female mentees.  Both mentor and mentee responsibilities were outlined during this ceremony and mentees were challenged to overcome their urges to return to the conduct that led them to the legal issues that have faced.

            This ceremony recognized that this is but a small first step in the direction the program intends to navigate.  It was further recognized that the mentorship part of the program must be followed by positive steps forward in locating or creating drug and alcohol treatment programs, in addition to a solid employment placement program.

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.

Reentry Issues

Public SafetyPublic Safety
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.

Additional Resources

Please visit the following resources for more information about reentry:

Updated August 2, 2021