On November 2, President Obama visited a drug rehabilitation center in Newark, New Jersey. He emphasized that released inmates should have a second chance to become productive members of society instead of a “return ticket to prison.” Later at Rutgers University Law School, he stated, “There are people who have gone through tough times, they’ve made mistakes, but with a little bit of help, they can get on the right path.”
Pres.Obama toured the Integrity House and talked privately with former inmates, a parole officer, and a federal judge about the uphill struggle for rehabilitation. Almost 2.3 million men , women, and children are incarcerated in the United States. America has almost 25% of the world’s inmates and only 5% of the world’s population. Every year, about 600,000 inmates are released into a society that generally shuns them as outcasts.
Released inmates are citizens returning to a hostile society. They face overwhelming obstacles finding jobs, housing, drug programs, and mental health services. Their uphill battle has helped create a high recidivism rate. Pres. Obama sadly described the process “As a cycle of incarceration.”
This president has made the elimination of our mass incarceration as one of his major programs for the remaining term of his presidency. Approximately 6,000 federal inmates, convicted of nonviolent crimes, serving excessive sentences, were released this week. If they cannot find a job and a safe place to live, sadly some will become recidivism statistics.
By: Bradley Schwartz
Founder of prisonpath.com