New Cabinet-Level Reentry Council Aims to Save Tax Dollars and Make Communities Safer
New Cabinet-Level Reentry Council Aims to Save Tax Dollars and Make Communities Safer.
On Wednesday, January 5, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder convened the inaugural meeting of the Cabinet‐level “Reentry Council” in Washington to identify and to advance effective public safety and prisoner reentry strategies. (Clockwise, seated at the table: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan; Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki; Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy R. Gil Kerlikowske; Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson). Photo credit: U.S. Department of Justice.
“Reentry provides a major opportunity to reduce recidivism, save taxpayer dollars and make our communities safer. More than two million people are behind bars, and 95 percent of them will be released back into their communities. By developing effective, evidence-based reentry programs, we can improve public safety and community well-being.” – Attorney General Holder
This week, Attorney General Eric Holder convened the inaugural meeting of the Cabinet-level “Reentry Council” to identify and advance effective public safety and prisoner reentry strategies.
Reentry programs are designed to assist incarcerated individuals with a successful transition to their community after they are released. Re-entry strategies and programs are a critical component of President Obama’s Strategy to reduce drug use and its consequences. Specifically, the strategy calls for supporting post-incarceration reentry efforts by assisting in job placement, facilitating access to drug-free housing, and providing other supportive services.
Supported by an interagency staff group from 16 Federal departments and offices, the newly formed council will meet semi-annually to leverage resources across agencies to: reduce recidivism and victimization; identify evidence-based practices that advances the council’s mission; promote changes to Federal statutes, policies and practices that focus on reducing crime; and identify Federal policy opportunities and barriers to improve outcomes for the reentry community.
Members of the council include the Attorney General, Departments of Education Secretary Arne Duncan; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Interior Secretary Ken Salazar; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan; Labor Secretary Hilda Solis; and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. Members also include Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Michael Astrue; Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, R. Gil Kerlikowske; Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Melody Barnes; Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Joshua DuBois; and Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Jacqueline Berrien.