Brings attention to how society’s reaction to the following elements deepens a person’s criminality -imprisonment -stigmatizing social exclusion Points out that state’s “get tough” policies cause an “unintended” consequence of lawlessness Offenders are worse off after release of imprisonment due to facing significant barriers to employment and homelessness (Lilly et al, 2011).
Stripping returning citizens of the following civil rights proved to be the wrong direction for federal and state legislatures as recidivism rates soared (Lilly et al, 2011). voting public housing driver’s license food stamps loans for higher education“Within the last decade or so, there has been a new realization that failing to address prisoner reentry and pursuing a policy of stigmatizing reintegration exacerbate recidivism and pose a threat to public safety (Lilly et al, 2011, p. 164).”
Enacted in 2008 and designed to improve the quality of lives for people returning home from prison, the Second chance Act authorized $165 million dollars in federal grants to nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies to provide the following services: Employment assistance Substance abuse treatment Housing Family programming Mentoring Victims support (Justice Center, 2012).
U-Turn Permitted is a program that was developed to cater the needs of the North Lawndale community. The most pressing need was services for returning citizens. UTP is a four week job- training program that provides the following strategies, techniques, and skills to returning citizens (NLEN, 2012). Conflict Resolution Anger Management Team Building Resume Development Financial Coaching and Asset Building Public Benefits Screenings Interviewing Skills Racial Healing Ongoing workforce coaching Job Placement (Sweet Beginnings, LLC is the largest employer of UTP graduates)
In 2004, The City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services launched the “Transitional Jobs Program.” This program was developed to help returning citizens transition back into the workforce by providing low risk subsidized positions to employers, and by providing case management and job readiness training to participants. Sweet Beginnings, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of North Lawndale Employment Network (2012), hires only graduates of the UTP program through the TJ program and helps participants to gain the following skills in a green and very interesting industry: Customer Service Inventory Packaging Shipping Products Display setups
The following qualities are also demonstrated by participants hired at SB: Punctuality Workplace etiquette Interpersonal communication Independent work habits TeamworkCurrently, the recidivism rate for past SB employees is 4%, compared to the IL average of 55% (NLEN, 2012). Clearly, this program works!
With over 35,000 inmates being released from Illinois prisons in 2003, and over half of them returning to inner city Chicago communities (City of Chicago, 2012), like labeling theorists, it is important to focus on how local government and community will react to their return (Lilly et al, 2011). Reentry programs reflect how the community’s reaction plays a key role in the reintegration process. Hundreds of returning citizens are released in communities everyday and it is important for them to have a fair shot at rebuilding their lives.
City of Chicago. (2012). Ex-Offender Re-Entry Initiatives. Retrieved from https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/supp _info/ex-offender_re-entryinitiatives.html Justice Center. (2012). The Second Chance Act. Retrieved from http://www.reentrypolicy.org/documents/0000/1277/2.14. 12_Second_Chance_Act_Fact_Sheet_.pdf Lilly, J. R., Cullen, F. T., & Ball, R. A. (2011). Criminological Theory: Context and Consequences (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. North Lawndale Employment Network. (2012). Sweet Beginnings, LLC. Retrieved from http://nlen.org/?page_id=37 North Lawndale Employment Network. (2012). U-Turn Permitted. Retrieved from http://nlen.org/?page_id=41