(a) PurposesThe purposes of the Act are—
to break the cycle of criminal recidivism, increase public safety, and help States, local units of government, and Indian Tribes, better address the growing population of criminal offenders who return to their communities and commit new crimes;
to rebuild ties between offenders and their families, while the offenders are incarcerated and after reentry into the community, to promote stable families and communities;
to encourage the development and support of, and to expand the availability of, evidence-based programs that enhance public safety and reduce recidivism, such as substance abuse treatment, alternatives to incarceration, and comprehensive reentry services;
to protect the public and promote law-abiding conduct by providing necessary services to offenders, while the offenders are incarcerated and after reentry into the community, in a manner that does not confer luxuries or privileges upon such offenders;
to assist offenders reentering the community from incarceration to establish a self-sustaining and law-abiding life by providing sufficient transitional services for as short of a period as practicable, not to exceed one year, unless a longer period is specifically determined to be necessary by a medical or other appropriate treatment professional; and
to provide offenders in prisons, jails or juvenile facilities with educational, literacy, vocational, and job placement services to facilitate re-entry into the community.
(b) FindingsCongress finds the following:
In 2002, over 7,000,000 people were incarcerated in Federal or State prisons or in local jails. Nearly 650,000 people are released from Federal and State incarceration into communities nationwide each year.
There are over 3,200 jails throughout the United States, the vast majority of which are operated by county governments. Each year, these jails will release more than 10,000,000 people back into the community.
Recent studies indicate that over ⅔ of released State prisoners are expected to be rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years after release.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, expenditures on corrections alone increased from $9,000,000,000 in 1982, to $59,600,000,000 in 2002. These figures do not include the cost of arrest and prosecution, nor do they take into account the cost to victims.
The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) provided $139,000,000 in funding for State governments to develop and implement education, job training, mental health treatment, and substance abuse treatment for serious and violent offenders. This Act seeks to build upon the innovative and successful State reentry programs developed under the SVORI, which terminated after fiscal year 2005.
Between 1991 and 1999, the number of children with a parent in a Federal or State correctional facility increased by more than 100 percent, from approximately 900,000 to approximately 2,000,000. According to the Bureau of Prisons, there is evidence to suggest that inmates who are connected to their children and families are more likely to avoid negative incidents and have reduced sentences.
Released prisoners cite family support as the most important factor in helping them stay out of prison. Research suggests that families are an often underutilized resource in the reentry process.
Approximately 100,000 juveniles (ages 17 years and under) leave juvenile correctional facilities, State prison, or Federal prison each year. Juveniles released from secure confinement still have their likely prime crime years ahead of them. Juveniles released from secure confinement have a recidivism rate ranging from 55 to 75 percent. The chances that young people will successfully transition into society improve with effective reentry and aftercare programs.
Studies have shown that between 15 percent and 27 percent of prisoners expect to go to homeless shelters upon release from prison.
Fifty-seven percent of Federal and 70 percent of State inmates used drugs regularly before going to prison, and the Bureau of Justice statistics report titled “Trends in State Parole, 1990–2000” estimates the use of drugs or alcohol around the time of the offense that resulted in the incarceration of the inmate at as high as 84 percent.
Family-based treatment programs have proven results for serving the special populations of female offenders and substance abusers with children. An evaluation by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of family-based treatment for substance-abusing mothers and children found that 6 months after such treatment, 60 percent of the mothers remained alcohol and drug free, and drug-related offenses declined from 28 percent to 7 percent. Additionally, a 2003 evaluation of residential family-based treatment programs revealed that 60 percent of mothers remained clean and sober 6 months after treatment, criminal arrests declined by 43 percent, and 88 percent of the children treated in the program with their mothers remained stabilized.
A Bureau of Justice Statistics analysis indicated that only 33 percent of Federal inmates and 36 percent of State inmates had participated in residential in-patient treatment programs for alcohol and drug abuse 12 months before their release. Further, over one-third of all jail inmates have some physical or mental disability and 25 percent of jail inmates have been treated at some time for a mental or emotional problem.
State Substance Abuse Agency Directors, also known as Single State Authorities, manage the publicly funded substance abuse prevention and treatment system of the Nation. Single State Authorities are responsible for planning and implementing statewide systems of care that provide clinically appropriate substance abuse services. Given the high rate of substance use disorders among offenders reentering our communities, successful reentry programs require close interaction and collaboration with each Single State Authority as the program is planned, implemented, and evaluated.
According to the National Institute of Literacy, 70 percent of all prisoners function at the lowest literacy levels.
Less than 32 percent of State prison inmates have a high school diploma or a higher level of education, compared to 82 percent of the general population.
Approximately 38 percent of inmates who completed 11 years or less of school were not working before entry into prison.
The percentage of State prisoners participating in educational programs decreased by more than 8 percent between 1991 and 1997, despite growing evidence of how educational programming while incarcerated reduces recidivism.
The National Institute of Justice has found that 1 year after release, up to 60 percent of former inmates are not employed.
Transitional jobs programs have proven to help people with criminal records to successfully return to the workplace and to the community, and therefore can reduce recidivism.