U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today announced the release of a report by the Reentry Coordination Council entitled Coordination to Reduce Barriers to Reentry: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 and Beyond. The report summarizes the Council’s interagency collaboration and offers recommendations to Congress to further reduce barriers to successful reentry for those returning from incarceration.
Attorney General Garland first convened the Reentry Coordination Council in October 2021, bringing together representatives from a wide range of federal departments, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since then, the Council has held several sessions focused on learning from the expertise and experience of a variety of individuals and organizations involved in several aspects of reentry, culminating in today’s report.
“Removing barriers to successful reentry for previously incarcerated individuals is an important part of the Justice Department’s mission to keep our country safe, uphold the rule of law, and pursue equal justice under law,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Whether it is safe, secure housing, employment, or food on the table, supporting formerly incarcerated people in accessing tools to reach their potential makes our communities safer and stronger. I look forward to continued collaboration with our partners across all levels of government and beyond to develop innovative, evidence-based approaches that advance our shared goals of ensuring equal access to justice and economic opportunity for all, including individuals returning from incarceration into our communities.”
Bringing multiple federal agencies together under the Reentry Coordination Council offers an opportunity to break down silos between federal agencies, to understand the broad impact of the justice system, and to pursue a comprehensive approach to reducing recidivism and promoting enhanced public safety. Today’s report provides preliminary recommendations to facilitate successful reentry, particularly addressing needs related to housing, food security, health care, education, and employment. The Council will continue its broader collaboration to identify effective strategies to promote successful reentry.
In conjunction with the release of the Council’s report and to highlight April as Second Chance Month, the Justice Department’s Office for Access to Justice will host a Reentry Simulation for senior officials and staff at RCC member agencies. The goal of the Reentry Simulation is to illustrate, through a two-hour interactive experience and facilitated discussions, the significant obstacles faced by individuals returning from incarceration to the community. This learning experience will aim to encourage and inform continued collaboration across government to mitigate these barriers. The discussions will include perspectives from individuals and organizations with wide-ranging experience and expertise in promoting successful reentry.