U.S. Attorney General Comments On Re-Entry For Inmates

This past week, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced measures to help released inmates ease back into society.   Her anouncement is part of the broad prison reform movement which in part includes the Smart on Crime bill, the U.S. Justice Dept.’s policy statement “Roadmap to Re-entry” and  last weeks “National Re-entry Week”.

Issues such as felons’ right are coming to the forefront at both state and federal levels.  The rights of released prisoners  to exchange prison ID’s  for state-issued ID cards  in order to obtain a job, housing or even open a bank account were mentioned, as was a felon’s right to vote.

A series of actions taken by the Bureau of Prisons to help inmates acclimate back into society were also announced.  These included individualized re-entry plans for each inmate, reviews by the BOP of it’s halfway houses and assessing inmates needs for job, education and life skills training programs.

The Justice Dept. is publishing a new manual which is said to “provide advice and guidance on re-entry” to U.S. citizens being released from federal correctional facilities.

This last paragraph resulted in my sending off another of my countless, but very  diplomatic letters to the U.S. Attorney General’s office.

Really, a bright and shiny new manual for prisoners, REALLY?   Is that what they need?

Our incarcerated family and friends need to have the stigma of being on the sex offender registry removed.  They need to be able to find a job, housing, build relationships, travel, take their children to school or to the park without having a scarlet letter hanging around their neck for the rest of their life.  They need to be able to reintegrate back into society just like anyone else who has served their time, paid their debt, without being perceived as “the pervert in the neighborhood”.  They shouldn’t have to spend a lifetime looking over their shoulder because their name is on a public shame list.

I suggested to  U.S. Attorney General Lynch that if she is truly interested in assisting former inmates in reintegrating back into society, that she checkout the WAR website, take some time to watch the videos, listen to family members tell how the registry has affected their lives.

“Walk a mile in our shoes” U.S. Attorney General Lynch, then tell us if you still think a bright and shiny new manual makes a bit of difference in our lives.

The Attorney General’s comments can be read at http://www.justice.gov

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