Too many Americans are impacted by criminal-justice system
There are over 2 million individuals behind bars in county jails, state prisons, and federal penitentiaries at any give moment across the country. To put this into another perspective, more than one in one-hundred adults between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five are behind bars in the US.
This figure does not even include millions more who are on parole or probation and are still part of the correctional system.
We call these individuals, "Returning Citizens."They are our family members, friends, neighbors, and valuable members of our community.
Returning Citizens are deemed 'untouchable' by employers
Up to 60% of returning citizens remain jobless a year after their release due to their criminal records and lack of employable skills. Locked out of gainful employment opportunities, many returning citizens fall back to substance abuse or engage in criminal activities. According to research reported by the Department of Justice, 67.8% of returning citizens were arrested again within 3 years of their release and 76.6% within 5 years.
Urban Institute reported in its 2008 research report that individuals who made more than $10 an hour were half as likely to return to prison as those making less than $7 an hour. Their finding shows us that having a stable source of income and a career path with the potential for financial upward mobility should be crucial pillars of a successful re-entry process for returning citizens.