According to the advocacy group, Consensus Building Institute, the rising rate of prison releases is becoming a major concern for agencies that are directly involved in the reintegration process. It drains their resources. To help in the efforts, the federal government signed the Second Chance Act into law on April 9, 2008. The purpose of the law is to allow the public and private agencies to get funding from the federal government to provide assistance to the ex-offenders.
Unless an inmate has a family to go home to, one major problem for an individual just released from prison is having a place to live. The National Reentry Resource Center has a nationwide database of transitional housing, sober living homes and even affordable housing available to ex-prisoners. The agency also has lists of many other services.
Career and Vocational Training
Career One Stop is a program sponsored by the United States Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Its goal is to provide opportunity to ex-offenders to learn or update their skills, further their education and develop their careers. The department partners with community colleges and training centers to provide affordable education to individuals who come out of prison.
The National H.I.R.E. Network educates ex-offenders about their legal rights. Some employers have the tendency to reject a job applicant who has a criminal record. In many states, the employers are prohibited from denying jobs to applicants based solely on their past convictions. The agency also gives guidance to those with criminal records to help them prepare for the application and interview process. It provides training and assistance to agencies that help the ex-offenders find employment. H.I.R.E. stands for Helping Individuals with criminal records Re-enter through Employment.
Mentoring and Spiritual Guidance
The Association of Gospel Rescue Missions provides a variety of assistance not just to the homeless but also to the ex-offenders. There are rescue missions in almost every state in the country. The missions provide emergency and transitional housing, food, clothing, employment assistance, health care assistance and mentoring. Their goal is not just to provide for the physical needs of a person but also to spiritually nurture the individual.
- Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images