Federal Interagency Reentry Council Launches Website, Releases "MythBuster" Series
Reentry has a tremendous impact not only on the criminal justice system, but also on public health, housing, the work force, education, families, and communities. Reflecting the federal government's commitment to addressing reentry challenges in a multidisciplinary manner, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has assembled a Cabinet-level interagency Reentry Council comprised of 18 federal departments and agencies. The Reentry Council will support the federal government's reentry efforts by enhancing communication, coordination, and collaboration across the federal government. Reentry Council partners are working together to increase public safety, assist those returning from prison and jail in becoming productive citizens, and save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration. The Reentry Council has now launched its official website, which is housed within the larger website of the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC). There you can access information created by the Reentry Council, learn about the Council's goals and composition, and identify agency contacts.
The Reentry Council has also released a set of "Reentry MythBusters," one pagers designed to clarify existing federal policies that affect formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. The MythBusters cover topics critical to reentry, such as public housing, access to federal benefits, parental rights, employer incentives, and more. As the MythBusters show, some federal laws and policies are narrower than is commonly perceived, as is the case with public housing and food assistance benefits. States and localities often have broad discretion in determining how policies are applied and/or have various opt-out provisions for states (TANF and child support are examples). In some cases, statutory barriers do not exist at all or are very limited, as is the case with federal hiring. In fact, some federal policies, such as federal bonding, contain incentives for assisting the formerly convicted population.
These Reentry MythBusters demonstrate how the Reentry Council is working to develop coordinated reentry strategies to reduce crime and enhance individual and community well-being. These efforts build on the considerable resources that the federal government is already investing in states and localities to support successful reentry and reintegration.
To download the entire set of Reentry MythBusters provided by the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, click here. Additional Reentry MythBusters are being developed by the Federal Interagency Reentry Council and will be posted soon.