Today, we highlight and uplift the one-year anniversary of Second Chance Awareness Month being officially recognized by the White House. This recognition, along with the President’s Community Violence Intervention Collaborative, has spurred interest and action, at the municipal level, to focus resources on services for second chancers (formerly incarcerated people). City leaders are acknowledging that these investments produce a positive return. The increase in effective transition services produces a list of benefits; reduces the likelihood of recidivism, decreases taxpayer dollars spent on incarceration, increases public safety and municipal tax bases while strengthening communities. For example, Baltimore is thinking across systems and offices to address re-entry and recidivism while individuals are still incarcerated through the federally funded B’More Reconnects program.
With increased attention comes higher expectations for results. In order to make this movement sustainable, we as second chancers must push for leadership roles in order to advocate for continued support for our peers. While data isn’t readily available at the city administration level, the Society of Human Resource Management conducted a survey that found 66% of human resource professionals reported hiring employees with a criminal record. Similarly, jurisdictions are recognizing the value of lived experience as a form of expertise and hiring those of us best suited to help implement practices that improve the experiences of people returning home from incarceration. Some examples of these municipal leaders include:
Steve Adami, Director Reentry Division and Victoria Westbrook, Reentry Policy Planner – Reentry Dept of SF Adult Probation Office
Pam Superville – Ag. Deputy Director, Philadelphia Office of Reentry Partnerships
Demetrus Coonrod – Chattanooga, TN – Elected to her second term as council member in 2021, 2022 representative on NLC’s Public Safety & Crime Prevention Committee
Lamont Carey – Director, District of Columbia Mayors Office on Returning Citizen Affairs
Additionally, many cities hire consultants or partner with reentry organizations that include returning citizens at the helm.
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