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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 27, 2015

Reentry Task Force For Southwest Alabama To Be Announced

Senator Vivian Davis Figures and United States Attorney Kenyen Brown will hold a media event to announce the creation of the Project HOPE (Helping Offenders Pursue Excellence) Reentry Task Force for Southwest Alabama. Thirty-seven area leaders and stakeholders who have agreed to serve are being asked to develop a strategic plan that will address reentry issues and needs of ex-offenders who are transitioning back to area communities.

U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown stated, "I’m excited that so many notable leaders from our regional community have answered the clarion call for change in Southern Alabama and the entire State of Alabama. I applaud their decision to lend us their experience and talents in order to come up with what we hope will be lasting solutions to the State’s criminal justice problems."

Senator Vivian Figures, the Chair of the Project HOPE Reentry Task Force, expressed, "There are growing concerns about the struggles inmates may encounter when released and the fears we all have about the endless cycles of arrest and re-incarceration that many experience." "It is in our best interest as their families, friends and neighbors that we forge new and hopeful pathways for those ready to chart new lives," said Senator Figures.

The formation of the Task Force is a collaborative effort encouraged by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles and spearheaded locally by U. S. Attorney, Kenyen R. Brown, the Project HOPE Reentry Council and the Mobile Area Interfaith Conference. The planning process will create a network of partners committed to goals and implementation that will transform the reentry process.

The citizens of Southwest Alabama are increasingly aware of pressing issues that need to be addressed. The Alabama justice system is struggling with overcrowding and a high rate of recidivism. The Mobile County Metro Jail is the largest incarceration facility in Southwest Alabama and is straining to perform its duties as an arm of the local justice system. There is growing consensus in law enforcement, justice and elected officials that recidivism rates could be reduced by implementing basic strategies and services that help ex-offenders avoid being re-arrested and returned to jail. Building on existing community resources and with coordinated support, many ex-offenders would be able to make choices

that could lead to renewed hope and increased opportunities as law-abiding and self-sufficient citizens, thereby reducing recidivism for those deserving of another chance.

This event is intended for all media outlets that provide news and information for public awareness and for rallying public support for reentry initiatives. Elected officials are encouraged to attend and support the development of a reentry strategic plan.

"We are beginning to better understand the difficulties faced by anyone released from a correctional facility. By responding effectively, we can create a reentry process that also provides a safer community for all citizens," concluded Figures.

Updated July 28, 2015