Formerly incarcerated persons are expected to make effective re-entry back into society, many with no access to immediate housing, and employment opportunities. They often possess poor life management skills and a significant number are burdened with mental illness and /or chemical dependency.
Formerly incarcerated persons often find little (or non-existent) support systems to embark on a normal and productive life in free society. Some (far too many) commit further criminal acts as a source of survival and recidivate back into the criminal justice system.
Convicted felons who have been released from prison and are under parole supervision are prohibited from voting, absent a certificate of relief from civil disabilities.
Community-based transitional and rehabilitative programs give the formerly incarcerated person the tools of successful living. These have been successful. They can be augmented.
Investments along these lines will result in a healthier, more crime-free society. This also offers substantial net savings to the state through lower recidivism and the reduction of families receiving social services, as the formerly incarcerated family member becomes income producing.
The NYS Commission on Sentencing Reform report dated October 15, 2007 "makes a series of recommendations intended to improve the likelihood of successful offender re-entry including: exploring the possible expansion of work release eligibility to include additional categories of inmates; the increased use of "step-down" facilities such as the recently created "Orleans Re-entry Unit;" the expansion of prison-based educational and vocational training; the enhancement of employment and housing opportunities for offenders re-entering the community; and the use of re-entry courts which follow the successful model used by New York's problem-solving courts."
"Currently, convicted felons who are in prison are prohibited from voting and those under parole supervision, including those convicted of a felony in another state and residing in New York, are prohibited from voting absent the issuance of a certificate of relief from civil disabilities. However, at least twelve states and the District of Columbia restore the right to vote to felons at the time they are released from prison. A majority of the Commission members believe that parolees should be encouraged to fully participate in civic activities and the restoration of the right to vote is fundamental to that participation."
President Bush, 2nd Chance Act Signing, April 9, 2008: "The country was built on the belief that each human being has limitless potential and worth. Everybody matters. We believe that even those who have struggled with a dark past can find brighter days ahead. One way we can act on that belief is by helping former prisoners who've paid for their crimes - we help them build new lives as productive members of or society."
A summary of all 12 planks can be found at Summary
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