June 26, 2019 - Andrea Cipriano - The Crime Report
Brian Ferguson, director for the District of Columbia Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs, has a simple answer to anyone who wonders why ordinary Americans should care about programs aimed at helping the formerly incarcerated adjust to life after prison.
“For anyone who does not see the value in reentry programs, ask yourself, what kind of neighbors do we want returning citizens to be when they return home?” he says.
Ferguson’s comment came in the official announcement of an ambitious plan released Wednesday by the Washington DC-based Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, a non-profit policy organization.
The Reentry Ready plan was created by diverse set of 21 stakeholders who debated and discussed appropriate strategies for 15 months—including formerly incarcerated individuals.
Reentry Ready believes that transforming the justice system from a primarily punishment-based approach into one where the system ensures “incarcerated individuals return to society prepared to be productive” is what’s going to heal the communities the most.
It envisions what it calls a “warm handoff” from jail or prison to community-based resources so returning individuals have the support they need to complete their reentry plan.
Under the plan, before individuals are released, corrections officials are tasked with developing personalized future reintegration plans, “based on a person’s specific needs and challenges.”