Over the last seven years, the Department of Justice has partnered with state, local, and tribal agencies and national organizations to support hundreds of reentry programs across the country. Thanks to these collaborations – and to the important work each of you is doing in your community – individuals leaving our corrections facilities have benefited from unprecedented access to job training, healthcare, housing, and other services aimed at putting them on a path to productive, successful lives.
The demand for effective reentry services remains high. More than 600,000 men and women leave our prisons every year and more than 11 million people cycle through our nation’s jails. That is why the Justice Department, through our Second Chance Act programs and our leadership of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, continues to advance evidence-based reentry programming and promote innovative reentry policymaking. I am proud of the progress we have made and excited about the successes that lie ahead. But federal actions have been and will be only part of the solution. It is up to all of us, working together, to press the importance of these programs and policies that make such a positive and lasting difference, not only to the individuals who are served but to the communities to which they return.
In an effort to draw greater attention to reentry, the Department of Justice is designating April 24-30, 2016, National Reentry Week. Throughout the week, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices will lead reentry-related efforts in their districts and Bureau of Prisons facilities will coordinate events in their 122 facilities. We invite you to join them in these activities or organize your own local events. Activities could take the form of job fairs, reentry roundtables, listening sessions with formerly incarcerated individuals, special events for children of incarcerated parents, outreach through oped pieces in local media outlets, or any of a number of other efforts designed to raise awareness of the importance of reentry.
Effective reentry programs offer the chance of a better life to those who return from our nation’s corrections facilities. I encourage you to use the occasion of National Reentry Week to highlight the value of these programs and to enlist your community in your work. The investments we make today – through the resources we dedicate and the enthusiasm we generate – will pay dividends for returning citizens and for public safety in America. Please send comments or questions about National Reentry Week to firstname.lastname@example.org.