Message from the Founder
In 2002, the U.S. Justice Department reported that approximately 7,000,000 people were incarcerated in prisons and jails across the United States. In addition, nationally, there are approximately 3,200 jails (mostly run by state counties) that release close to 12,000,000 people each year. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics’ study, 2/3 of those released are expected to be rearrested for a serious misdemeanor or felony within three years of arrest. Furthermore, expenditures on corrections jumped from $8,000,000,000 in 1982 to $59,000,000,000. The collateral consequences of incarceration also extend to the family of those behind bars. For instance, there was a 100% increase between 1991 through 1999 of the number of children (900,000 to 2,000,000) with a parent incarcerated. In the District of Columbia, the local trends are very much in line with the national picture.
In January of 2008, the District of Columbia’s Department of Corrections reported that approximately 18,231 residents returned to the community in 2007. The Court Services and Supervision Agency (CSOSA) reported that annually 2,500 residents return from the federal Bureau of Prisons and that on any given day, they supervise some 15,000 returning residents. Additionally, the Federal Probation Office for the District of Columbia states that annually they supervise approximately 2,000 returning residents. Nevertheless, these numbers only tell part of the story as they do not reflect the tens of thousands of District residents who are not under supervision and without support services and who nevertheless remain saddled with the collateral consequences of incarceration without resources and without help.
These strikingly high numbers in the District more than make the case for a sustained District Government sponsored reentry program to assist the tens of thousands of D.C. residents who are transitioning from incarceration and in desperate need of immediate relief.
The demand will likely increase, given the record number of D.C. residents being released from the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the D.C. Jail everyday.
Ex-Offender Town Hall, 08
As a nation and city, the plight of the formerly incarcerated is at a crisis level. Unemployment, homelessness, substance abuse, mental illnes are in the high double digits. Families suffer when a member can not successfully reintegrate and can't contribute to the unit; whole communities suffer from the tremendous loss of human capital and talent, and in turn, the city suffers with overall diminished public safety and quality of life for all residents. Yes, this issue impacts us all, and it is not going to "go away" because we ignore the problem or because this population and their issues are not politically popular. We all have to step up and play our respective roles as government, returning residents, as community to demand: jobs, education, housing, health care, human and civil rights for the returning residents of the District of Columbia and their impacted families.
We must care about our returning residents; we must care about their families; we must care about our communities; we must care about our city...
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