In the News

Georgia Department of Labor

dol.georgia.gov/

In this photo taken May 4, 2016, President Barack Obama speaks in Washington. The Obama administration on Thursday, May 5, 2016, commuted the prison sentences of 58 federal convicts, including 18 who were given life sentences. The action is part…

WASHINGTON, May 5 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama has commuted the prison terms of 58 non-violent drug offenders, nearly a third of whom were serving life sentences, the White House said on Thursday.

"It just doesn't make sense to require a non-violent drug offender to serve 20 years, or in some cases, life, in prison," Obama said in a blog post.

Many of the convicts had been serving time for crack cocaine. Crack users have for years faced far steeper penalties than users of powder cocaine, even though the two substances are molecularly similar. Critics have said the disparity has unfairly hurt poor African-American communities.

Obama has pushed to reform the U.S. criminal justice system to reduce the number of people serving long sentences for such crimes, and it is one of the few issues for which the Democratic president has received support from Republican lawmakers.

His administration announced the most ambitious clemency program in 40 years in April, 2014. The program has struggled under a deluge of unprocessed cases.

Still, the number of commutations Obama has given is more than double those given by the previous six presidents combined, the White House said.

Rachel Barkow, faculty director at the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at New York University School of Law, said Obama has to speed up his clemency program or the "initiative remains a lottery" for thousands of other convicts.

She called the commutations a step in the right direction and added, "They also illustrate how much more this administration needs to do."

Obama has now commuted the sentences of 306 people, including 110 who had been serving life terms.

Among those named on Thursday were Jasmine Allen of Florida, who had been convicted of conspiracy to distribute a small amount of cocaine base, Wade Cutchen of Virginia, who was serving a sentence for possession and intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, and Tomma Jean Kent of Iowa, who had been convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Alistair Bell, Toni Reinhold)

Decatur Career Center-Goodwill of North

Georgia

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration http://www.samhsa.gov 

Cocaine Anonymous http://www.ca.org 

The following is an article referenced from articwww.justice.gov.


Federal Interagency Reentry Council (FIRC)

The FIRC, established by the Attorney General in January 2011, comprises 20 federal agencies representing a significant executive branch commitment to coordinating reentry efforts and advancing effective reentry policies. It is premised on the recognition that many federal agencies have a major stake in prisoner reentry.  Learn more [external link]

Reentry Issues

Public Safety
Reentry improves public safety.  Approximately two million adults are incarcerated in state prisons and local jails. Nationally, two out of every three people released from state prisons are rearrested for a new offense and about half are reincarcerated within three years. Reducing recidivism is critical for increasing long-term public safety and lowering corrections costs.

Employment
Individuals who have been incarcerated can expect their future earnings to be reduced by about 40 percent after they return to their communities.   Reentry efforts seek to reduce barriers to employment so that people with past criminal involvement – after they have been held accountable and paid their dues – can compete for work opportunities.

 Health
There is often a lack of continuity in care from inside the prison to the community.  Reentry efforts can help ensure that the Affordable Care Act and other reforms will significantly increase access to appropriate physical and behavioral health interventions after release from incarceration. Substance abuse can be a significant impediment to successful reentry and a major health concern. Addressing the root causes of substance abuse leads to improved public safety.

 Education
Education is a core resource for release preparation, and is an evidence-based tool for reducing recidivism among adults and juveniles. Participation in education programming was associated with a 16 percent reduction in recidivism in one study. Education is also a critical building block for increasing employment opportunities.

 Housing
Stable housing with appropriate supportive services is a key factor in preventing homelessness and reducing recidivism.  The goal is to reduce barriers to public and subsidized housing, and advance promising models that improve outcomes for people who repeatedly use corrections and homeless services.
 

Additional Resources

Please visit the following resources for more information about reentry:

Reentry MythBuster
s
Federal Interagency Reentry Council.

Please contact us at info@pearproject.com if you have helpful information you would like for us to post!

Atlanta Alcoholics Anonymous http://www.attcnetwork.org .

-A Place to post thoughts, information and informative links that will help inspire others.

On the Boards


Center for Mental Health and Addictionhttp://www.camh.net 


Narcotics Anonymous http://www.na.org 

Resources