Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Obstacles During Reentry- A Potential Solution?

Source: Navigating The Hidden Obstacles to Ex-Offender Reentry

It comes as no shock to the reentry world that there are many obstacles ex-offenders face on their path to reintegration. From dramatic rates of incarceration to equally staggering numbers of releases each year, there is simply not enough specialization to adequately assist ex-offenders. Author and Law Professor Anthony C. Thompson recently expressed the hidden obstacles to offender reentry. In this unique approach he proposes utilizing the role of the public defender in a more holistic way.

Not only do ex-offenders face hurdles with housing and employment, they have social challenges, family issues and often substance abuse problems. It is from these "collateral consequences" that public defenders have opportunity to help."One possible way to reduce the chaos (during reentry)...would be to have one legal entity serve as the entry point for the offender. That office could then help map a strategy for the offender that might involve working with separate legal and social entities. The offender would thus have a point person from whom he or she could obtain some guidance in the process" (Thompson, pg. 292).

We believe that the best solution to this problem is simple. Employment. When ex-offenders are afforded the opportunity to find gainful employment, they have a greater chance of a full integration to society.With employment, ex-offenders can feel confident in being a productive member of society. They contribute to federal and state tax systems, as well as have the ability to provide for their family and get their affairs in order.

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