January 17, 2019, John N. Mitchell- The Philadelphia Tribune
When Pennsylvania State Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the formation of the PA Reentry Council (PARC) in May 2017, he did so with designs on reducing the high rate of recidivism in the state (60 percent) that contributes to the national rate of 68 percent.
On Thursday, Shapiro introduced some of the first steps toward that goal.
Appearing with Brian Hudson, PA Housing and Finance Agency (PHFA) Executive Director and CEO, and Kurt Myers, state Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary for Driver and Vehicle Services, Shapiro highlighted initiatives to provide reentering Pennsylvanians affordable housing (landlords often screen out tenants with criminal records), access to educations (40 percent of incarcerated adults don’t have a high school diploma), access to treatment for healthcare, addiction and mental health, access to drivers licenses, social security cards and other essential documents, and removing other barriers to successful reentry.
“It’s unacceptable. For too long, we’ve relied solely on incarceration to prevent crime and violence,” said Shapiro, adding that two out of three prisoners recidivate. “It’s not something that I accept as the attorney general, as the chief law enforcement officer of Pennsylvania.”