SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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SECOND CHANCE ACT OF 2005
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME, TERRORISM,
AND HOMELAND SECURITY
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
NOVEMBER 3, 2005
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Serial No. 10966
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
Available via the World Wide Web: http://judiciary.house.gov
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
DANIEL E. LUNGREN, California
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
RIC KELLER, Florida
DARRELL ISSA, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
STEVE KING, Iowa
TOM FEENEY, Florida
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ, California
CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, Maryland
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Florida
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PHILIP G. KIKO, General Counsel-Chief of Staff
PERRY H. APELBAUM, Minority Chief Counsel
Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina, Chairman
DANIEL E. LUNGREN, California
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
TOM FEENEY, Florida
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
RIC KELLER, Florida
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMICHAEL VOLKOV, Acting Chief Counsel
ELIZABETH SOKUL, Special Counsel for Intelligence
and Homeland Security
JASON CERVENAK, Full Committee Counsel
BOBBY VASSAR, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
NOVEMBER 3, 2005
The Honorable Howard Coble, a Representative in Congress from the State of North Carolina, and Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
The Honorable Robert C. Scott, a Representative in Congress from the State of Virginia, and Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
The Honorable Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., Governor, State of Maryland
The Honorable Chris Cannon, a Representative in Congress from the State of Utah
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared Statement
The Honorable Danny K. Davis, a Representative in Congress from the State of Illinois
The Honorable Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a Representative in Congress from the State of Ohio
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Safer Foundation, ''Rentry Profile, 7th District of Illinois,'' submitted by the Honorable Danny K. Davis, a Representative in Congress from the State of Illinois
Position Paper by the Honorable Danny K. Davis, a Representative in Congress from the State of Illinois, and Bernard Glenn-Moore, CBCF Legislative Fellow
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
Prepared Statement of the Honorable Robert C. Scott, a Representative in Congress from the State of Virginia, and Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
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Letter submitted by Bill Hansell, President, National Association of Counties (NACo), and Beverly O'Neill, President, United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) to the Subcommittee
Letter submitted by Lewis E. Gallant, Executive Director, National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc. (NASADAD), to the Subcommittee
Policy Brief submitted by the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc. (NASADAD), to the Subcommittee
SECOND CHANCE ACT OF 2005
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2005
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism,
and Homeland Security
Committee on the Judiciary,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:37 a.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable Howard Coble (Chair of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COBLE. The Subcommittee will come to order. Good to have you all with us.
I want to welcome everyone to this important hearing to examine the issue of prisoner reentry and specifically H.R. 1704, the ''Second Chance Act,'' a bipartisan proposal that provides a useful framework for strategic policy innovations needed in this critical area. I want to commend our former colleague, Representative Portman from Ohio, who is no longer with us, and our witnesses today for playing a leadership role in raising the profile of prisoner reentry as a public safety issue and not solely a corrections issue.
The need for innovative solutions is obvious. It is conservatively estimated that approximately 650,000 inmates will be released from State prisons in the next year. In the absence of actions to address this issue, 67 percent of these individuals will be rearrested, and over half will be returned to prison. States are being crushed by an overwhelming financial burden; approximately $40 billion a year in direct costs alone for correctional costs.
At the heart of this matter is a simple calculation: will the economic and societal savings of reduced recidivism be greater than the cost of the resources needed to allow individuals returning to society to make this transition successfully? Research has shown that the answer to this simple calculation is yes. So for that reason, it is critical that we on this Subcommittee examine the issue and provide a framework for assisting States in developing more effective reentry strategies.
Public safety is not just simply incarcerating individuals. Public safety means providing necessary services for those who can best benefit from a true second chance in life. A national strategy is needed, one that combines Federal, State, and local resources, building on successful models for offender reentry programs. It also requires that the Subcommittee reexamine issues such as drug treatment programs, since a significant number of recidivists suffer from drug addiction.
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President Bush, you may recall, stated in his 2004 State of the Union Address, ''We know from long experience that if former prisoners cannot find work or a home or help, they are much more likely to commit more crimes and return to prison. America is the land of the second chance, and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.''
I welcome the opportunity to work with my colleagues on this matter and, in particular, my good friend, the Ranking Member, the gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Bobby Scott, who has demonstrated his dedication and leadership in this area. Mr. Scott and I oftentimes don't agree on issues, but without exception, our disagreements are always agreeable.
In this case, today, I think we see eye to eye, and I will look forward to working with him, and I am now pleased to recognize the distinguished Gentleman from Virginia, the Ranking Member, Mr. Bobby Scott.
Mr. SCOTT. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I thank you for bringing us together to discuss H.R. 1704, the ''Second Chance Act.'' This is a bipartisan bill that takes a significant step in the right direction toward ensuring that those who leave our State and Federal prisons have the assistance and support they need to avoid returning.
The primary reason for us to develop this legislation is not simply to assist offenders who are returning to the community. The primary reason is to lower the prospects that any of us and other law abiding citizens will be the victims of crime in the future. The second reason to support this legislation is that it reduces the cost to the taxpayers, who have to pay for all that recidivism.
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This year, close to 700,000 people will leave prison in the United States, and most of them will be ill-prepared to succeed in earning a living and leading a law abiding life, and the resources available to assist them in reentry are extremely limited. In addition, they have a felony record and a prison stay. Certainly, those items on the resume certainly don't help the job prospects or even social development.
And so, with limited education, resources, job skills, Federal benefits, disqualifications because of drug or other convictions, some two-thirds of released prisoners are re-arrested for new crimes within 3 years of their release.
Although the national crime rate has fallen significantly over the last decade, we're seeing a continuing and unprecedented increase in our jail and prison populations. One philosopher noted that when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. But we seem not to be able to do that just yet as policy makers. Right after this hearing, we will be marking up a bill with more mandatory sentences and more severe penalties on top of existing ones.
All of this focus on increasing sentences has led us to the point where we now have, on a daily basis, over 2.2 million people locked up in our nation's prisons and jails, which is a five-fold increase over the last 20 years. The Federal prison population has increased over sevenfold over the past 20 years.
In 1984, the daily lockup count for our prisons and jails was just over 400,000, with about 25,000 Federal prisoners. Today, 2 million prisoners, almost 190,000 Federal prisoners, and the population is growing. According to both the Sentencing Project and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a primary reason for this tremendous growth in prison and jail population has been longer sentences resulting from determinate sentencing schemes and mandatory minimums. Over 50 percent of incarcerated inmates are in jail on nonviolent crimes, with the greatest percentage those being there for drug offenses.
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As a result of the focus on incarceration, the United States now leads the world by far in incarceration rates, with an incarceration rate of 726 inmates per 100,000 population last year. The closest competitor isn't anywhere close to 726 or 626; it's 532; that's Russia, 532 per 100,000, and our rate is five to eight times that of industrialized nations, like Canada. Canada has a rate of 116; England, 142; Australia, 117; France, 85; United States, over 700 per 100,000.
Despite all of the rough sentencing for crimes, 95 percent of the inmates will be released. The question is whether or not they reenter society in a context that better prepares them and assists them in leading law abiding lives or continue the cycle where two-thirds return in subsequent years. So if we are going to continue to send more and more people to prison with longer and longer sentences, we should at least do as much as we reasonably can to assure that when they do leave, they don't come back with new crimes. That's why the Second Chance Act is very important, and I applaud its developers and lead cosponsors: as you've mentioned, former Representative Portman, Representative Danny Davis, and Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Representative Chris Cannon.
It's a bipartisan bill supported by 88 cosponsors, including myself, and supported by virtually all of the criminal justice advocates and organizations, including law enforcement who work with or are familiar with the situation encountered by those leaving prison today. About the only criticism I've heard of the bill and its provisions is that its provisions don't go far enough to fully address the problems faced by those who are reentering society from prison. I agree with that criticism, but I feel that this bill is worthy of support as a good first step.
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I am also a cosponsor of a prison reentry support bill developed by Representative Conyers in the last Congress that will be refiled this year. This bill will address many of the programs and issues touched by this bill, but it goes further and actually implements the programs on a national level. I've seen the value of the prisoner reentry programs. A study of the Virginia CARES Program that I supported when I was in the State Senate of Virginia only had meager resources for a Statewide program, but the study showed that the program had a 25 percent reduction in recidivism when compared to like prisoners who were released who did not have the benefit of that program. And when you cost it out, Mr. Chairman, we found that we saved more money than we spent in funding that program.
As a society, we breathe a sigh of relief when a long sentence is issued for a crime, as if that were the end of our responsibilities. With the numbers of prisoners and releases and reincarcerations growing exponentially, we can no longer afford financially or morally to allow ourselves the luxury of tough on crime rhetoric, tough on crime policies, with no attention to what happens next. To do so is unfair to unsuspecting crime victims, including our children; short-sighted and fiscally irresponsible.
So, Mr. Chairman, I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses as we do what we can to begin to seriously address this growing societal program and working with you to further develop and pass this critical legislation. I have mentioned colleagues who are with us today. I also want to mention the Governor who is with us today. We knew we were having a Members' panel; I saw the Governor from Maryland, and he seemed right in place. I had forgotten that he hadn't been here for awhile. So we welcome the Governor back.
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Mr. COBLE. I thank the gentleman from Virginia, and we have been joined by the distinguished Lady from California, Ms. Waters, and the distinguished Gentleman from Florida, Mr. Feeney, and all Members, without objection, opening statements will be made a part of the record.
I want to apologize to my colleagues if I become guilty of preferential treatment today, but as Mr. Scott said, our old buddy is back with us, and I think it's special when one of our own leaves the Hill and then is elected to lead an entire State and returns. It's real good to have you with us, Bobby, Governor, Your Excellency. [Laughter.]
And I want to welcome Mrs. Ehrlich, the first lady of Maryland, with us also. My chief of staff, Mr. Scott, is a Maryland boy. There he sits on the front row, and he said to me the Governor is always late. I'm sure he won't be on time. [Laughter.]
So your words were not prophetic, Mike. But we do have four distinguished witnesses with us today. Our first witness is the Honorable Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., Governor of the State of Maryland. Since assuming office in 2003, Governor Ehrlich launched Project Restart to reduce repeat offenses and end the revolving door of offenders returning to prison.
Prior to serving as Governor, as we have already mentioned, he served as a Member of Congress from 1995 to 2003 and in the House of Delegates in Maryland from 1987 to 1995. Governor Ehrlich received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his J.D. from the Wake Forest University School of Law in North Carolina.
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Our second witness today is the Honorable Chris Cannon, the sponsor of this bill before us today. Representative Cannon served the Third Congressional District in the State of Utah and was first elected to the Congress in 1996. He chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law in addition to being a Member of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources. Prior to serving in Congress, Representative Cannon worked as a successful businessman in Utah, having received his B.A. and law degrees from Brigham Young University.
Our third witness is the Honorable Danny K. Davis. Representative Davis serves the Seventh Congressional District in the State of Illinois and was first elected to Congress in 1996. Representative Davis has been instrumental in the formulation of this legislation and has worked tirelessly on reentry issues. He previously convened an ex-offender task force in his district, which explored the problems facing ex-offenders. Representative Davis was awarded his B.A. degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a doctorate degree from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Our final witness today is the Honorable Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who has also dedicated herself to reentry issues and played a critical role in the drafting of this legislation. Representative Tubbs Jones serves the 11th Congressional District in Ohio and was first elected to Congress in 1999. Prior to serving in Congress, Representative Tubbs Jones worked as a prosecutor and municipal court judge in the City of Cleveland. Currently, she serves on the board of directors of Community Reentry, a program which seeks to reduce recidivism among ex-offenders. She received both her undergraduate degree and J.D. from the Case Western Reserve University.
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As I said, we've been joined by the distinguished Gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Delahunt as well.
Folks, we operate under the 5-minute rule here. If you all violate that rule, Mr. Scott and I will not call on the Maryland troopers in the back of the room to haul you into custody, but when you see that red light appearing on your panel in front of you, that is your warning that your 5 minutes have elapsed, so if you would begin to wrap it up at that time, we would be appreciative.
We are pleased indeed to start the ball rolling with Governor Ehrlich. You are recognized for 5 minutes, Governor.
TESTIMONY OF THE HONORABLE ROBERT L. EHRLICH, JR., GOVERNOR, STATE OF MARYLAND
Governor EHRLICH. I will be brief. It is great to be here. Congressman Scott, it is great to see everybody. Mr. Chairman and Members, it's just terrific to be back here on the Hill. I am very proud to bring the First Lady with me.
I'm going to submit my statement for the record. I'm just going to make a couple of observations. Thank you very much for this bill. It is bipartisan in nature. It's a good idea. It's a sound concept.
I have brought some folks from Maryland I will introduce in a second with me today as well: Secretary Mary Ann Saar, who is my Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services, is here and leading the effort. Tommy Ahres as well is the person in charge of implementing Restart in Maryland.
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Representative Scott, truly going off topic, I was in the State legislature in the 1980's, and the big debate at that time was what predicate offenses we would increase in the juvenile system to get tough, to get tough, to get tough, to send the message out to the juvenile population. That debate was replicated around the country during that time; and of course, since many of these kids were saveable, many had addictions, although they had committed increasingly violent crimes.
We ended up with long prison sentences. We ended up with a very long list of enumerated offenses that would have a young juvenile offender waived up into the adult system, and now, we have the results from that policy which, quite frankly, for the most part, failed, not just in Maryland but around the country, as you well know.
The recidivism rate in Maryland, in the adult system, is 49 percent. Nationally, I've seen various numbers: 55, 60, 67 percent. The issue is quite simple: job skills and addiction and not in that order. Coming into office, it may have been counterintuitive for some for a Republican Governor to champion this cause. Quite frankly, Mr. Chairman and Members, I guess the definition of a fool is someone who continues to do the same thing and expects a different result. And in Maryland, we were going to do something different. We were going to do something to break eggs, to break the paradigm, whatever euphemism, whatever analogy you wish to make; the bottom line was we needed to try something new; we needed to be bold.
There was little down side, since the task had, quite frankly, been replete with failure. I thought in the process, we might save some lives; we might save the taxpayer some dollars as well; hence, Restart in the State of Maryland. The program is science-based. It has four major components: correctional education, substance abuse, social work, and offender reentry. It's based on research, it's based on science, sound social science. It emphasizes the importance of cognitive restructuring programs, academic training, vocational skills, and of course, substance abuse training.
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Mr. Chairman, you well know the first lady of Maryland is a former public defender and prosecutor. This is a subject near and dear to her heart as well, particularly on the substance abuse end.
We've added elements to what we began a year and a half ago. These elements include enhanced academic training, enhanced cognitive restructuring, anger management, adult basic education, GEDs, vocational skills training, and, of course, enhanced substance abuse treatment as well. We have signed up the nonprofit community in Maryland. A new public-private partnership is being established that focuses on connecting responsible reentry with a reduction in the prison population. We basically have a contract with the nonprofit community. It is called the Maryland Opportunities Contract. It uses up front seed money from private foundations to provide reentry services to offenders to achieve savings from a reduction in the prison population.
Mr. Chairman, I'm not going to sit here in front of you nor my former colleagues and tell you that what we've done is perfect or that it works. We passed our bill our second year in office. It's been up a year and a half. We have received some unfortunate opposition from Members of our General Assembly. Getting everyone to buy in, all of the elements of the criminal justice system, has not been as easy as you might think.
I can tell you, however, that in Maryland, we will not repeat the mistakes of the past. I am here to support your bill because it makes sense. The Second Chance Act represents a real important, critically important step by Congress to ensure that the millions who cycle through our nation's prison systems have a better chance to become solid citizens.
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It's a cliché, Mr. Chairman, and you know it quite well, but a few dollars spent on the front end, even dollars spent behind walls, in my view, will guarantee less victims in the future, more solid taxpaying citizens for our society. It's a pretty good risk to take, and I am very proud to have Maryland in the vanguard of this movement nationally, and I thank you for the time.
[The prepared statement of Governor Ehrlich follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ROBERT L. ERLICH, JR.
Good Morning Chairman Coble and members of the Subcommittee.
I am Robert Ehrlich, Governor of the State of Maryland. I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today on offender re-entry and H.R. 1704, The Second Chance Act of 2005. This is an issue that I believe is deserving of greater attention and focus.
My Administration has a significant interest in the issue of offender re-entry. Though Maryland is a small, relatively wealthy state, we grapple with the same challenge that practically every state in the country faceshow to manage the volume of offenders cycling through our prisons.
Each year more than 650,000 individuals, 14,000 in Maryland alone, are released from our nation's prisons. These men and women have served their time, paid their debt to society, and are returning to their communities with the potential to be good citizens. Unfortunately, their return to the community is often brief and many end up back in prison. Currently, Maryland's recidivism rate stands at 49%. Research has shown that, nationwide, up to 67% of those released are rearrested within 3 years, creating a cycle of incarceration.
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When individuals do re-offend, they not only add to the number of crime victims in our communities, they also cost taxpayers more money by becoming part of our prison system again. I am committed to doing something to break this cycle in Maryland.
Many barriers await people leaving prison. Inmates are often ill prepared to return to the community, lacking access to resources needed to assist in their transition. Cognitive skills training, employment readiness, job opportunities, affordable housing, parenting skills, substance abuse treatment, and social services' resources are important elements for an individual's successful re-entry into the community.
Re-entry programs reduce recidivism and make our communities safer. In addition to helping individuals stay on the right path and reducing crime, successful re-entry programs also save money. Investing in re-entry programs eases the financial burden on states and taxpayers. From 1982 to 1997, state spending on incarceration went from $9 billion annually to $44 billion, and that does not include the cost of arrest and prosecution. The annual cost of incarceration in Maryland is $24,000 per inmate. That is more expensive than the annual tuition at many of the best colleges in the country.
A major national study conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that the best reentry programs could deliver 20% to 30% reductions in recidivism or crime rates and that even modest reduction in future criminality can have an attractive bottom line. A report on the Philadelphia corrections system showed that, by reducing recidivism rates by only 10%, there would be a savings of $6.8 million in jail costs alone.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In Maryland, through our Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, we are creating a system for offender re-entry that has never existed in the State; a system that balances custody and control with treatment and services, providing offenders with the necessary tools to become productive members of their communities.
The Department has launched RESTART, an acronym for Re-entry Enforcement, and Services Targeting Addictions, Rehabilitation, and Treatment. RESTART has four major program componentsCorrectional Education, Substance Abuse Treatment, Social Work, and Offender Re-entryand is based upon numerous research studies that emphasize the importance of cognitive restructuring programs, academic training, vocational skills training, and substance abuse treatment in reducing recidivism.
RESTART is adding new programming that research has demonstrated to have a positive impact on recidivism. These programs consist of academic training, including cognitive restructuring, anger management, adult basic education, general equivalency diplomas, vocational skills training and substance abuse treatment.
Offender re-entry is not simply a public safety issue; it's a human issue. In Maryland we have been extremely fortunate to have philanthropic organizations that are willing to invest in second chance programs. A new public-private partnership is being established in Maryland that is focused on connecting responsible re-entry with a reduction in the prison population. The Maryland Opportunities Compact will use up-front seed money from private foundations to provide re-entry services to offenders and achieve savings from a reduction in the prison population. That savings, in turn, will be used to continue to fund re-entry programs in Maryland.
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The Compact will enhance public safety by helping former inmates become productive citizens, and it will produce public savings that will be redirected to focus on individuals with a higher risk of recidivism while simultaneously expanding resources and improving outcomes for moderate to low risk individuals.
This compact builds upon our efforts in Maryland to enhance rehabilitation and re-entry programs and implement parole reform policies. I believe that programs like the Maryland Opportunities Compact will enable us to return hundreds of thousands of inmates to their communities as responsible citizens and members of a strong Maryland workforce. At the same time, we further benefit taxpayers by funding this effort with budget savings.
Additional tools and resources from the federal government would be helpful for states like Maryland that are seeking to address deep-rooted, systemic recidivism problems.
The Second Chance Act, H.R. 1704, represents a critically important step by Congress to ensure that the millions who cycle through our nation's prison systems have a better chance to become solid citizens.
I support passage of the Second Chance Act, a bi-partisan bill, that will help people transition to life outside of prison and provide strategic help in the five key areas of employment, housing, mental health, substance abuse, and support for families.
This legislation authorizes much needed assistance to state and local governments for projects that enhance a person's ability to find a job and receive housing or substance abuse and mental health treatment. It also allows grandparents to receive support for taking care of the children whose parents are incarcerated, which keeps the kids out of foster care. Just as important, the bill creates a federal task force from various agencies to identify ways to collaborate and remove barriers to successful re-entry.
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I urge Congress to act promptly to pass this important legislation. Providing offenders with the tools needed to make a successful transition from prison is an investment that we cannot afford to ignore. We should provide these individuals with the assistance needed to make the most of their second chance. It will make them better citizens, it will reduce crime, and it will save taxpayers money.
Thank you again for the opportunity to testify on this important issue.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Governor, and in addition, Governor, to having arrived on time, you did not abuse the 5-minute rule, and I commend you for both.
The gentleman from Utah is recognized for 5 minutes.
TESTIMONY OF THE HONORABLE CHRIS CANNON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF UTAH
Mr. CANNON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate your holding this hearing on the Second Chance Act on offender reentry and recidivism. I would like to associate myself, first of all, with the remarks of Governor Ehrlich, who has been a good friend and who has taken the lead on this issue and done a remarkably good job, and I note that he pointed out that he is supported by a terrific staff, who are actually making a difference on these issues.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to start by talking about Jessica Nickel, who is the person who worked with Representative Portman before he left us; is now with the Council of State Governments, director of Government affairs, and she is the person who has done such a tremendous amount of work to pull things together.
We now have 90 cosponsors, including you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Scott, and I hope others on the Committee will see fit to do so, and we have 193 organizations that have supported this. And those are big numbers, and they're possible in part because of my good friends, Congressmen Davis and Tubbs Jones, who have been working on this and who bring a world of experience to this issue. Danny Davis and I have preached together and I sort of view this as a bit of preaching, because as I look at what we're doing here in America, there are numbers, and Governor Ehrlich has talked a little bit about those numbers, and Congressman Scott has laid out many of those numbers. These are numbers that we agree to that exist that can be looked at, examined, and they're big numbers, and they're numbers that deal with how we spend our money at the Federal level and also at the State level.
But I think what we're dealing with here is something more than that. I think this is a fundamentally moral issue, and in America, we have a religion. Much has been written about that. It is not one sect or another, but there are some fundamental ideas that we hold as Americans, fundamental religious ideas, and at the base of that is the belief that there is a god.
Now, you don't have to believe that there is a god to be an American, but most Americans believe that, and they also believe that there is going to be a judgment. And that means that we stand before God at some point in time and have to account for what we have done in life, and that means our personal actions toward those around us and toward our family members and others.
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But when we step into the environment that we're in now and in Congress or governing, as Governor Ehrlich does, we have a broader set of responsibilities, and the Christian concept always includes the responsibility we have toward widows, orphans, and prisoners. You don't find a statement where we are mandated to take care of those less fortunate without including the concept of prisoners. And that's because prisoners are human beings that God cares about and that we are going to be judged as to how we deal with them.
And so, behind all the statistics, there are human beings and our responsibility before God to do the things that are right, and that means not, as I think the Governor said, it's ridiculousyou can't continue to do the same thing and expect a different result, and so, we have to do some changing.
Now, Congressman Scott and I have talked over the years about the problem with prisoners, and it's something that we haven't done a lot about. But I view it as a great moral responsibility. And so, it is a great pleasure for me to take the lead on Congressman Portman's bill. Now, we have not reintroduced a bill, and I want this to be Congressman Portman's bill so that he is honored for all of the work that he has done on that, because the work has been tremendous.
And I just want to commend you, Mr. Chairman, and other Members of the Committee, for having this hearing and taking the lead on this, because I think it's a bill whose time has come. It's a first step. I think there are many other steps, and you're going to hear from other folks today on the next panel talking about maybe where we ought to go later on. But this is a good first step that creates an accountability process; it creates a process for communication between the Federal Government and the States. It creates a context in which individuals who had a problem in life and who are now coming back into society can have their path eased and hopefully get on a path that will take them away from the problems that got them there in the first place and in the process keep our communities safer.
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But at heart and fundamentally, I believe the issue here is a moral issue, how we take care of the least among us. And with that, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you and yield back my time.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Cannon follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE CHRIS CANNON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF UTAH, AND MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee for holding this important hearing today. I am honored to testify before you about offender reentry and reducing recidivism.
As you know, our nation is releasing more and more people every year from prison and jail, and the results aren't getting any better. The way we currently release and return prisoners to the community makes neighborhoods less safe, less healthy, and less stable.
With bipartisan support from my colleagues, I have taken the lead on major reentry reform legislation, which was originally introduced by Mr. Portman. This bill would help our states and communities better address the challenges of prisoner reentry.
The Second Chance Act is a bipartisan approach to prisoner reentry that will better coordinate federal agencies and policies on prisoner reentry. The bill also increases the federal financial support to states and community organizations to address the growing population of prisoners returning to communities. The bill addresses a variety of important areas for offenders and communities, including: jobs, housing, substance abuse and mental health treatment, and support for families.
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The Second Chance Act brings together state and local governmental entities to work on reentry together. Using state task forces and better coordination between the different agencies we can improve the efficiency of reentry services and make sure the federal, state and local governments work together for the returning prisoners and the communities and families they come home to.
Additionally, the burden on our citizens and taxpayers is a serious concern. The average cost to house a federal inmate is over $25,000 a year. The average cost at the state level in 2000 was only slightly less$21,170 annually. These figures do not include the cost of arrest and prosecution, nor do they take into account the costs to the victims. Although taxpayers went from spending $9 billion per year on corrections in 1982 to $60 billion two decades later, it is shocking that the failure rate hasn't improved over the last 30 years.
A modest expenditure to help transition offenders back into the community can save taxpayers thousands of dollars in the long run. A prominent 2001 study found that, ''the best [reentry] programs can be expected to deliver 20% to 30% reductions in recidivism or crime rates'' and that ''programs that can deliverat a reasonable program costeven modest reductions in future criminality can have an attractive economic bottom line.''
Successful prisoner reentry requires the active involvement of nongovernmental entities, such as non-profit agencies, faith institutions, ex-offender support groups, and community organizations. The Second Chance Act actively encourages public-private partnerships at the local level. The real solutions to this systemic problem are innovations at the community level. The federal government can and should provide leadership to stimulate locally-based action.
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Accountability. Prisoner reentry is about reducing and preventing crime, as well as restoring lives. We need to be both tough and smart on crime. High rates of recidivism translate into thousands of new crimes each year. The social and economic costs of a 67 percent recidivism rate nationally are astounding. The American people expect Congress to be tough in keeping dangerous felons from returning and committing new crimes, but also smart in making sure that those who are coming home are given the chance to start a new life. This shift in thinking by federal and state governments will mean better accountability to our citizens at home.
We must insist that people released from prison and jail, and the government agencies and providers that supervise and serve them upon their return to the community, do a better job. Continued funding for a program should be contingent upon some demonstration that it has made inroads on recidivism. The Second Chance Act will improve accountability to our citizens by setting forth clear performance measurement goals among states, local governments and community partners.
Innovation. James Q. Wilson has said that the best role for the federal government in crime control is to test new ideas. The Second Chance Act does this by reauthorizing research-based demonstration projects for states and local units of government. The bill also establishes a national resource center for states, local governments, service providers, faith-based organization, corrections and community organizations to collect and disseminate best practices and provide training and support around reentry.
The legislation also provides for additional research on prisoner reentry. There is a scarcity of research and data on the issue of prisoner reentry, therefore, the Second Chance Act directs the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics to create a research agenda and statistical series that will fill this void. In addition, we make sure that both the demonstration project and the mentoring grants have performance-based outcome expectations to make sure federal dollars are fully maximized.
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Our states continue to experience a fiscal crisis of unprecedented dimensions. These fiscal constraints have been exacerbated by rising prison costs, which now consume more state discretionary dollars than any program but Medicaid. Congress has a valuable role to play in helping the states to find ways to reduce unnecessary corrections costs, while enhancing public safety. The technical assistance component of this bill will make sure that all agencies in the federal reentry task force are geared to help states formulate their reentry initiatives. While our role is limited because of the realities of the corrections system, it is crucial that federal involvement spurs innovation and improved accountability.
Hope. There is a clear lack of hope among this growing population. As the numbers of people under supervision of the criminal justice system swell, an expectation develops that crime, unemployment, and addiction is the destiny of the next generation. Children of parents who have been incarcerated may be at greater risk for depression, aggressive behavior and withdrawal, and criminal involvement.
We need to motivate people to change. Risk and needs assessments, which are individualized and validated, should be used for each person admitted to prison and released from a corrections facility to pinpoint what form of monitoring, conditions, and sanctions are most likely to affect that person's behavior. We must also provide role models and foster other meaningful relationships with ministers, peers, family members, and community leaders to help change a person's behavior, attitude, and openness to treatment. The Second Chance Act would help states to better use assessment tools and provides support to nonprofit organizations that link mentors with prisoners.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Families. Another significant cost of prisoner reentry is the impact on children and families. As you all know, the number of children with a parent in a federal or state correctional facility has increased over the last decade by more than 100 percent to approximately 2,000,000 children. When expanded to children with parents under some form of corrections supervision, the number is closer to 10 million children. These children are at risk for drug abuse and delinquency and need our attention.
The Second Chance Act would provide resources to grandparents and other kinship care and foster care providers who care for children during parental incarceration. It would also provide state and local governments with resources for family-based drug treatment to treat parents and their children as a complete family unit. Reentry success or failure has implications for public safety, the welfare of children, family, growing fiscal issues, and community health.
It is our responsibility to society to address the most basic needs of prisoners coming home. Through the Second Chance Act, we can reduce prisoners' chances of re-offending and improve their success as productive, contributing citizens. This legislation is a bipartisan effort that applies new solutions to this problem to improve our accountability to our citizens and better utilize state and local innovation.
Mr. COBLE. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Davis, recognized for 5 minutes.
TESTIMONY OF THE HONORABLE DANNY K. DAVIS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
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Mr. DAVIS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Scott.
Let me first of all thank you for calling this hearing, and I welcome the opportunity to testify. I also want to thank Chairman Sensenbrenner and Ranking Member Conyers for the leadership that they have both provided and the support that they have given to this process. I also want to commend my colleagues, Representative Chris Cannon, for the leadership role that he has played, and Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones.
It is indeed good to be here and to recognize the work that the Governor of Maryland, Governor Ehrlich, has demonstrated in terms of leadership, and I also want to thank all of those groups. We call them the working group, National Association of Counties, U.S. Conference of Mayors, lots of other prisoner reentry and social rehabilitation groups that have been involved in the process right down the line.
The issue of ex-offender reentry has had priority status with me for a number of years, and when President Bush stated in his 2004 State of the Union Address, and I quote, ''We that we need to do more to help the more than 600,000 ex-offenders coming home from jails and prisons each year to successfully find their way back into normal life;'' I almost jumped out of my seat and had to be the first person to applaud at that moment.
A few weeks later, I was equally elated when I received a call from then-Representative Rob Portman's office inviting me to work with him to try and move toward implementation of the goal toward reentry stated in the President's speech. I am convinced that we could not be at this juncture with possible movement of this legislation had not it been for the hard work, dedication, commitment, and leadership of Representative Rob Portman, who is now the U.S. Trade Representative, and I take this opportunity to express my personal thanks and appreciation to him and his chief of staff on the issue. And I know that when I do this, I express the sentiments of all of those who have worked so long and so hard and who are advocating for passage of this legislation.
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The successful reentry of individuals returning to civil society after having been convicted of a crime and experiencing incarceration is one of the great challenges of our day and is one of the biggest problems facing many urban inner-city communities throughout the nation. With approximately 650,000 of these individuals returning home each year, with low levels of formal education, minimal job skills, psychological, emotional, and substance abuse problems, no place to live, no job, cannot live in public housing, cannot get student aid, cannot in some instances get Food Stamps, and of course, cannot work in many places because of legal prohibitions, thereby putting enormous pressure on the social infrastructures of those communities where they are most likely to try and live.
Mr. Chairman, the Second Chance Act gives hope to the hopeless and provides help for the helpless. Research has shown, and we know that when individuals leave prison and our correctional facilities, we know that unless they receive some form of help, 67 percent of them are likely to reoffend within a 3-year period of time, and 53 percent of them are most likely to be back in jail or prison.
All of the components of the Second Chance Act are greatly needed and will help a great deal to more effectively meet this great need. However, I urge that we put special efforts to provide adequate substance abuse treatment for those individuals who are addicted. We know that when individuals are treated for their addictions, the chance for successful reentry vastly improves.
Mr. Chairman, I am advocating that substance abuse treatment be an integral part of our reintegration plans, programs, and strategies. Untreated substance abuse increases social problems and raises public safety costs. In my State, the State of Illinois alone, where we expect 46,000 individuals to return home from jail and prison this year, of this number, at least 12,000, or well over 25 percent, will have substance abuse problems. The correlation between substance abuse, crime, child abuse, accidents, and all forms of public safety is so high until it is crystal clear that when you reduce substance abuse, you reduce crime; reduce substance abuse, reduce incarceration; reduce substance abuse, reduce recidivism; reduce substance abuse, save money; reduce substance abuse, save lives.
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Mr. Chairman, we all deserve a second chance. I welcome the opportunity to be here. I thank you for the hearing and thank you for the leadership that you are showing in this issue, and I yield back the balance of my time.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Davis follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DANNY K. DAVIS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Chairman Sensenbrenner, Ranking Member Conyers, Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Coble, Ranking member, Rep. Scott and Members of the Committee, I thank you for convening this hearing and welcome the opportunity to testify. The issue of ex-offender re-entry has had priority status with me for a number of years and when President Bush stated in his 2004, State of the Union Address, ''that we need to do more to help the more than 600,000 ex-offenders coming from jails and prisons each year to successfully find their way back into normal life,'' I almost jumped out of my seat and had to be the first person to applaud.
A few weeks later, I was equally elated when I received a call from then Rep. Rob Portman's office inviting me to work with him to try and move towards implementation of the goal towards re-entry stated in the President's speech. I am convinced that we would not be at this juncture with possible movement of this legislation had it not been for the hard work, dedication, commitment and leadership of Rep. Rob Portman who is now the U.S. Trade Representative; and I take this opportunity to express my personal thanks and appreciation to him; and I know that I express the sentiments of all of those who are advocating for passage of this bill. The successful re-entry of individuals returning to civil society after having been convicted of a crime and experiencing incarceration is one of the great challenges of our day and is one of the biggest problems facing many urban inner-city communities throughout our nation. With approximately 650,000 thousand of these individuals returning home each year with low levels of formal education, minimal job skills, psycho-emotional and substance abuse problems, no place to live, no job, cannot live in public housing, cannot get student aid, cannot in some instances get food stamps and, ocourse cannot work in many places, because of legal prohibitions; thereby, putting enormous pressure on the social infrastructures of those communities where they are most likely to try and live.
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Mr. Chairman, the Second Chance Act gives hope to the hopeless and provides help for the helpless. Research has shown and we know that when individuals leave prison and/or correctional facilities, we know that unless they receive some form of help, sixty-seven percent of them are likely to re-offend within a three year period of time and fifty-three percent are most likely to be back in jail or prison. All of the components of the Second Chance Act are greatly needed and will help a great deal to more effectively meet this great need. However, I urge that we put forth special efforts to provide adequate substance abuse treatment for those individuals who are addicted. We know that when individuals are treated for their addictions the chance for successful re-entry vastly improves. Mr Chairman, I am advocating that Substance Abuse Treatment be an integral part of our reintegration plans, programs and strategies. Untreated substance abuse increases social problems and raises public safety costs.
In my state, the state of Illinois alone, where we expect 46,000 individuals to return home from jail and prison this year, of this number at least twelve thousand or well over twenty-five percent will have substance abuse problems. The correlation between substance abuse, crime, child abuse, accidents and all forms of public safety is so high until it is crystal clear, reduce substance abuse, reduce crime, reduce substance abuse, reduce incarceration, reduce substance abuse, reduce recidivism, reduce substance abuse, save money, reduce substance abuse, save lives.
Mr. Chairman, we all deserve a second chance and I say let it begin now!!! This bill will go a long way to help. I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Davis.
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Ms. Tubbs Jones, recognized for 5 minutes.
TESTIMONY OF THE HONORABLE STEPHANIE TUBBS JONES, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OHIO
Ms. TUBBS JONES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I thank you for holding the hearing as well as Ranking Member Bobby Scott. I, too, want to echo the words of my colleagues about the leadership that Congressman Rob Portman from my home State has shown in this issue. I would also like to welcome Governor Ehrlich back.
Just for the record, Mr. Chairman, and I only correct it because it gives perspective on why I sit at this table, I was an assistant prosecutor for 2 years. I was a municipal judge for 15 months. I was a general jurisdiction judge for eight and a half year doing criminal and death penalty cases, and I was the elected prosecutor of the largest prosecutor's office in the State of Ohio before I came to Congress.
And I add that because people may think it is strange that a judge and a former prosecutor would be at the table talking about community reentry issues, but I've been waiting 25 years for the opportunity to testify on this issue before the Congress of the United States.
In Cleveland, as a prosecutor, I helped to establish a pre-trial diversion program to allow first time offenders to be diverted into a probation program so that they would be able to have a clean record and keep going. I was part of the establishment of a drug court in the Cleveland Municipal Court, because like my colleague, Mr. Davis, I see substance abuse as a real significant problem in our nation. Prisoner reentry is not a Democratic issue; it is not a Republican issue; it is a common sense issue. The facts are clear that meaningful reentry programs significantly diminish the chance that ex-offenders will return to prison.
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These programs, and I would also join with my colleague in saying that I believe it is a moral issue as well. We can always talk about people having paid their debt to society, but if we don't ever give them a chance to walk in the shoes of those who have paid their debt, then, we are facing families that are in problems, children that are in problems and communities that have difficulty.
Before I discuss this legislation and how we're dealing with prisoner reentry in Ohio, let me describe the problem we currently have faced. The State of Ohio has one of the largest populations of ex-offenders. In 2001, about 24,000 ex-offenders returned to their communities. Of those ex-offenders, an estimated 6,000 returned to Cuyahoga County, about 5,000 to the City of Cleveland, which is the main city in my jurisdiction. Statewide about 40 percent of ex-offenders returned to prison in 2001.
The Second Chance Act is groundbreaking legislation that would eliminate barriers to successful reentry and allow offenders and their families the tools necessary to break the cycle. Just recently, I was campaigning for my candidate for Mayor of the City of Cleveland. I went in a barber shop, where there were about 20 young African-American males there, and we were raising issues. And they said, well what are you going to do to help us? We want to work, but nobody wants to hire us. As soon as we tell someone that we have a prior record, then, we are taken off the list.
Attached to my testimony, you will find information on two entities that do magnificent reentry work in the State of Ohio and would stand to benefit from the Second Chance Act. The first one, the Community Reentry Program, in Cleveland, Ohio, and I dedicate my testimony to Reverend Dick Seary, who passed a couple years ago and was the head of the community reentry program.
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The second program is the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections; again, Reginald Wilkinson, the head of Corrections and Rehabilitation in Ohio is one of the leaders in reentry programs in the State of Ohio. Community reentry is part of the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries and has served the City of Cleveland since 1973. At the State level, the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, their program is viewed as a model nationally for administering reentry programs.
Attached to my testimony is information that, A, is about community reentry; B is about CORE, which is the State of Ohio; and C is about a young man, a specific example, by the name of Derek Johnson, who is an ex-offender and worked his way through and ultimately became a part of a construction company working for construction.
I can't tell you when I judged, I walked down the street, and people would come back and say Congresswoman, Judge, whatever they called me, and they'd say thank you for giving me a chance to rework my life. I'd even run into people that I had sent to jail, and they would say Congresswoman, you sent me to jail, I'm out of jail. Thank you for giving me a chance to straighten up my life.
But all of them say to me we can't find a job. Nobody wants to let us in. I can't pay for my child to go to school. I can't help my family without this opportunity. And this is a significant opportunity for the Congress of the United States to step up and follow the lead of the President and create a Second Chance Act.
I thank you for the opportunity to be heard.
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[The prepared statement of Ms. Tubbs Jones follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE STEPHANIE TUBBS JONES, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OHIO
Chairman Coble, Ranking Member Scott, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for your invitation to testify regarding H.R. 1704, the ''Second Chance Act of 2005.'' In a bipartisan fashion, I have been working with Congressman Cannon, Congressman Davis, Chairman Coble, Congressman Scott, and others to make this legislation a reality.
I have been waiting 25 years for this hearing, as I have been deeply involved in prisoner reentry issues since my days as a judge and county prosecutor in Cleveland, Ohio before serving in Congress. While Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, I helped establish the ''Pretrial Diversion Program,'' as well as the ''Municipal Drug Court.'' Both programs, I am proud to say, still exist and continue to help ex-offenders move on with their lives and become productive citizens of society.
Prisoner reentry is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. It is a common sense issue. The facts are clearmeaningful reentry programs significantly diminish the chance that ex-offenders will return to prison. These programs save taxpayer dollars and increases public safety. So why not invest in enhancing reentry services in order to end the cycle of recidivism? That is the purpose of the Second Chance Act.
Before I discuss this legislation and how we are dealing with prisoner reentry in Ohio, let me first describe the problem we currently face in my home state.
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The State of Ohio has one of the largest populations of ex-offenders reentering the community. In 2001, about 24,000 ex-offenders returned to their respective communities in Ohio. Of those ex-offenders, an estimated 6,000 returned to Cuyahoga County, about 5,000 to the City of Cleveland. Statewide, about 40 percent of ex-offenders returned to prison in 2001. In Cuyahoga County, about 41 percent returned to prison. Such high recidivism rates translate into thousands of new crimes each year and wasted taxpayer dollars, which can be averted through improved prisoner reentry efforts.
The Second Chance Act is ground-breaking legislation that would eliminate barriers to successful reentry and allow offenders and their families the tools necessary to break the cycle of criminality. The legislation makes $110 million directly available to state and local governments and non-profit organizations for reentry services. This component of the bill is key because it provides direct assistance to groups committed to reentry that are ''on the ground.'' One thing is certain, state and local governments and non-profits need additional funds in order to provide reentry services more effectively.
Attached to my testimony [Attachments A and B], you will find information on two entities that do magnificent reentry work in my State of Ohio and would stand to benefit from the Second Chance Act: 1) Community Reentry in Cleveland, Ohio, of which I sit on the Board of Directors, and 2) the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Community Reentry, which is part of the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, has served the City of Cleveland since 1973 and assisted thousands of ex-offenders.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC At the state level, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, under the leadership of Reggie Wilkinson, is viewed as a model nationally for administering reentry programs. One of their newer and more successful programs is the Community-Oriented Reentry Program (CORE). CORE will be running out of funds in June 2006, but instead of outlining the merits of CORE, and how the Second Chance Act could help CORE stay viable, allow me the opportunity to tell you the real-life story of an ex-offender that has successfully completed the CORE program.
His name is Derrick Johnson, currently 26 years old, from Columbus, Ohio. A full version of his story is attached to my testimony [Attachment C], but I will give you a summary.
Between the ages of 16 and 24, Derrick was incarcerated six times for a variety of offenses (drugs, theft, burglary, etc). During his sixth incarceration he was introduced to the CORE program and the Reentry Management Team. At first, his level of maturity did not seem to extend beyond that of a teenager. His body language and demeanor still reflected a street mentality and the ''law of survival.''
However, to the surprise of the team, Derrick not only successfully completed the CORE program and his incarceration, but upon his release to the community and completion of his correctional supervision, he became a model client. After several weeks, he began to open up with the help of his case manager. He started to become excited about life and the opportunities ahead.
Derrick was never late for any of his appointments, never tested positive for drugs, nor was he sanctioned during his supervision. He truly became a role model for his peers in the reentry program.
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In May of 2004, Derrick obtained his first employment ever at Wendy's Restaurant. He took great pride in working and earning his own money. Today, he has moved on from Wendy's and is now working in construction. The pay is better, and he is excited about the opportunity to learn about the construction business.
In a nutshell, Derrick's story encompasses the need to expand the support for reentry services. Without CORE, he would probably not have been able to turn his life around. He is now a productive, tax-paying citizen. That is what this legislation is all aboutproviding ex-offenders a second chance to change their lives for the better. Derrick's story is evidence that investing in reentry programs pays off.
Thank you for affording me this opportunity to testify, and I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
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Mr. COBLE. I thank you all. The distinguished panel has contributed very significantly to this hearing.
Now, folks, we impose the 5-minute rule against ourselves as well, so if you all could answer tersely and concisely, that will help us move this along.
Governor, we commend you for your innovative work and approach to the reentry issue in Maryland and in particular your Restart Program. What specific measures, Governor, can the Congress take to provide States with the support needed to address the reentry issue?
Governor EHRLICH. Help us with the science and help us with the cash. How is that for concise, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. COBLE. Can't beat that. [Laughter.]
I can't win with this guy. [Laughter.]
Mr. COBLE. That's concise enough.
Governor EHRLICH. It is a science based program, obviously.
Mr. COBLE. Yes.
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Governor EHRLICH. It's not feel-good. It's not about sounding good when you say it real fast. It's aboutI loved hearing the testimony from my former colleagues here as well. It's about common sense, but it's about realit's also about quantifying results, and there's a lot of programs out there, Federal Government, State governments; this is not groundbreaking in the sense that it is a new idea. It is groundbreaking in the sense that, as I told you in my testimony, I can't tell you whether this works in Maryland right now. In a year and a half, I want to come back to you and tell you what the numbers are, and the numbers are not going to lie. Recidivism is the singular measure here.
And so, quite frankly, it is the science that is contributed to by the Federal Government, and to the extent that there are additional dollars; when you retrain correctional officers, there is an expense involved, obviously, and that's what this is about. This is about selectingwe call them PIN numbers in Maryland, State employee jobs and job descriptions and transforming some traditional jobs, obviously, not a majority; you need prison guards; you need people who protect us from predators but literally providing the dollars for the retraining of the professionals who protect us.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Governor.
Mr. Cannon, the Governor mentioned science and cash. The Second Chance Act carries a price tag of approximately $110 million over two fiscal years. Outline how such spending will result in greater savings to governments.
Mr. CANNON. Thank you. You know, a lot of money can be spent on this. The Senate is looking at a bill that has about a $300 million price tag, and just given the rules of how we do things in the House, I think that we tried to focus on an amount of money that can be acceptable but on the other hand effective.
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And let me just give you by way of comparison: we have done massively more to stop cancers in children than we have in adults. And the reasonI have talked to many people about this recentlythe reason is that we shared best practices, so not only do we have science here, you vehicle to measure, you have to count; that's the scientific part. But what we are trying to do here is to create an environment where new programs can be tried and measured, and then, the best practices communicated to the States.
And it's that best practices that I think is going to give us the opportunity to see, measure, and emulate and then move programs around the country that will actually be effective. And I view our role not so much as funding, although, you know, you could spend a lot of money I think appropriately on this, but the amount of money I think we're spending is good, because it gets us started and helps us establish these kinds of best practices.
Mr. COBLE. I thank you, sir.
Mr. Davis, in your testimony, you stressed the importance of drug treatment. Specifically, if you will, advise the Subcommittee what specific types of programs will work and should be expanded.
Mr. DAVIS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I would like to ask if this document could be entered into the record. It's a reentry profile of my Congressional district that was put together by the SAFER Foundation, which has one of the outstanding programs in the nation. And they project that using their program and based upon their experiences, that they could actually save the State of Illinois $81,875,000 a year in incarceration costs by reducing recidivism through the components of a program that they have where individuals not only receive counseling and services for substance abuse; that is, substance abuse treatment, but also job skills, job development training. It's one of the best documents that I've seen.
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It's scientific; they've actually worked it out where they reduce recidivism fromthey say the number of offenders returning would be 7,739; the number expected to recidivate, 4,479; the number expected to recidivate if they receive SAFER supportive services would be 2,167, which is almost half the number, and they would save an enormous amount of money.
Mr. COBLE. And without objection, that will be made a part of the record.
[The information referred to follows:]
SAFER FOUNDATION, ''RENTRY PROFILE, 7TH DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS,'' SUBMITTED BY THE HONORABLE DANNY K. DAVIS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Mr. COBLE. And I see my time has expired. The Gentleman from Virginia.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Davis, that kind of program to save $81 million, do they show how much it would cost to implement that program?
Mr. DAVIS. They don't have the implementation costs, but the average cost for a good substance abuse treatment program is less than $15,000 a year in this type program. The average cost of incarceration in the State prison in the State of Illinois is more than $30,000 a year. And so, if you can prevent 25 or 30 people from recidivating, then, you can see how the dollars begin to add up.
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Mr. SCOTT. Those are the numbers that I think are extremely valuable, because those are consistent with the numbers we saw in Virginia, where if you invest a little money up front, you can significantly reduce not only recidivism and crime and fewer victims; you can also save money. And while you're at it, you're helping people get their lives back on track, so it is a win-win-win situation, and I appreciate your bringing that information to us.
Governor Ehrlich, you mentioned science based. Do you have studies already? I know you're encouraging us to do more studies, and I agree there is too little good hard information on what works and what doesn't. Do you have studies that can at least point us in the right direction?
Governor EHRLICH. We do, and I believe, Congressman, you have access, so we have studies of recent vintage; a recent national study conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy found the best reentry programs, again, quantifying and measuring, could deliver 25 to 30 percent reductions in recidivism or crime rates.
And the bottom line here is even a modest, a relatively modest reduction in recidivism rates is an attractive bottom line for people. You're literally producing nonvictims in the future, and obviously for the taxpayer as well. Just with respect to dollars, the average cost of incarcerating an inmate in the adult system in Maryland is about $24,000 a year. The tuition at College Park, which is one of the most competitive schools in the country these days, is $7,800. The juxtaposition there speaks volumes about what we could be doing with even a modest reduction in recidivism rates.
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Mr. SCOTT. Do the studies, Governor, show which programs work well? We mentioned substance abuse, education. Is that a factor?
Governor EHRLICH. The social scientists, the experts, are coming after us. Secretary Saar, obviously, is the expert. But some of this is also common sense; it's intuitive. We all know, to the extentthe cycle speaks for itself. Addiction, offense, incarceration, continued addiction, reoffense, and we're surprised. So if you stop that cycle in the middle with treatment services both behind wallsand as I said, even a 20 or 30 percent reduction in recidivism gets you some pretty good numbersthat's where the bottom line is. That has not been where the emphasis has been at the State level nor the Federal level over the years.
So when you combine that with true therapeutic regimes, individualized in many cases, and job skills, first GED and then some, you have a pretty good chance of success. That's not deep. That's pretty common sense. But the commitment has not been there, and as I keep talking about Secretary Saar, without the commitment, the buy-in, from your leader, this is not going to get done, because for some folks, it's counterintuitive. Not everybody is going to buy in. You're going to have some resistance. To the extent that you have resistance, you are not going to produce the results.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
Ms. Tubbs Jones, you mentioned jobs. What can we do to help people get jobs?
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Ms. TUBBS JONES. I'm going to refer you, Mr. Chairman, and Ranking Member Scott, to Attachment A that I submitted to you with regards to the Community Reentry Program. It provides for you the operating expenses of Community Reentry as well as the various programming that it does.
I think one of the things that we have to do is get a public-private partnership going and talk to the private sector about the importance of hiring ex-offenders. And I want to be clear that I am not suggesting that we put people who are thieves in a bank, nor am I suggesting that we put people who have been offenders to young men or women into a day care center, but there are jobs and skills that many ex-offenders have that will be very useful.
We were able, in fact, to create a couple businesses in Cleveland. We did a painting business with ex-offenders and a catering business with ex-offenders. We also have used them to do other things. But all of us understand that if you have a job, then, you feel good about yourself, and you can take care of your family. And I think there are benefits that far exceed the dollars when you see families that are stable, that you see young men and women or girls and boys who can look up to their parent and see that they are taking care of them and on and on and on. But jobs are integral to the successful reentry of people into the market.
Mr. COBLE. I thank the Gentleman.
We have been joined by the distinguished Gentlemen from Ohio and Arizona, Mr. Chabot and Flake respectively, and the Chair recognizes the Gentleman from Ohio.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHABOT. I thank the Chairman, and I want to thank him for holding this very important hearing, and I would like to particularly thank the distinguished panel that we have here today for their leadership in this area. I apologize for being a little bit late. There was a conference going on which some of our colleagues are still at which was going a little bit long.
I also want to thank the former judge from Ohio, Ms. Tubbs Jones, and say that I enjoyed accompanying her and a number of our colleagues to Rosa Parks' funeral yesterday in Detroit. It was a very moving experience, and we were there for about 7 hours. That was a pretty long service, but nonetheless, those of us who went, it will be something we will never forget.
This is an area that I have had some interest in for quite some time. I have been in Congress now 11 years but was a local elected official for 10 prior to that and was very active in putting people to work in the community and trying to push the philosophy that, you know, when somebody has taken something from society, they ought to be able to give something back by working and that they benefit, and it reduces recidivism and many of the other things that I am sure that this panel has already covered to me getting here.
Let me just ask a couple of points, and I will just throw it out and let the panel address this. And I know you have already addressed this to some degree already. But if you could talk about, and let me preface this by saying there is a movement to deemphasize the Federal Prison Industries through various means. There is some argument that there is an unfair competition between the private sector and those that are performing services within the prisons, and I think certainly, something needs to be addressed. But Congressman Scott and I have been active in trying to make sure that we continue the Prison Industries efforts.
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Could you talk about the relationship between Prison Industries type things, people actually working, getting job skills, because most of these people are going to get out some day, and if they have some skills that they have acquired, there is a better chance that they will be employed and be able to contribute to society rather than being back in an institution at public expense again to the detriment of themselves and society to some degree.
Could you talk about the relationship between the skills that one can acquire while one is incarcerated and putting those skills to work once they get out? And if you want to touch also on the literacy, the fact that so many folks don't have particularly high degrees of literacy and that whole education, the factor that's evolved there, and anyone who would like to touch on that, we would love to hear you.
Mr. DAVIS. Well, I will take a shot at it right quick.
You know, the Prophet Gibran says that work is love made visible and that when you work, you connect yourself to the environment of which you are a part. If you have no opportunity to work, then, you have no hope. You have no sense of being able to contribute. Many of the individuals who are incarcerated are incarcerated because the kind of work they have traditionally done in many instances has dried up, does not exist.
For example, there is a seriously disproportionate number of African-American males in prison. Traditionally, black men in America have always worked in basically two industries: first, it was agriculture production, and then, with the industrial revolution, it was moving into the factories. From many of the large urban areas where factory work no longer exists, these individuals have not been trained for the kind of work that does, in fact, exit to become a part of a high tech service economy; therefore they don't work, and when they don't work, of course, they do all kinds of other things.
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And so, we have to convince employers to give work opportunities and look atwe call it a case-by-case basis to find work that individuals can do where they don't have finding problems, where they don't have all of the problems that are associated with one being an ex-offender or having a criminal record or background. And I think that is one of the great needs.
Mr. CANNON. If I could follow up on what Congressman Davis has said, you know, in the recession in 2000, we lost in the very early months of the year 2000 almost 2 million manufacturing jobs, which went right to the core of this issue. And on this particular topic, you have a great deal of expertise and have introduced legislation or amendment to establishI know you understand it well.
But typically, what we are doing in some of our Federal industries is just manufacturing and training in jobs that aren't going to exist when these guys get out, so I have some serious concern. I was a principal in a company before I came to Congress that did a great deal of organizing, training, and helping States and State prisons teach people computer skills and to work in data entry and other computer areas. And the company is ongoing and is still a significant employer in that environment.
This is a hard issue, and I think that we need to solve it in a different way, and we're not dealing with it in this bill. But ultimately, if a person is in jail and is going to jail, we can't give them a second chance, we can't divert them like Congresswoman Tubbs Jones is talking about and getting them on a different track in life, if they're in jail, we ought to create a context for them to gain skills that will allow them to make a transition when they get out, and part of that is having drug rehabilitation and other kinds of things so that they're acceptable as employees.
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But it just seems like the greatest crime on earth is that we dump people in a system where bad things happen to them; they are involved in a bad environment, and there is no way to develop the kind of skills that will make them marketable when they get out. So this is an issue of great importance where there have been some successes that could be emulated.
Mr. COBLE. The Gentleman's time has expired.
The distinguished Gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me say that I find this most refreshing, and I share all of your enthusiasm; particularly, Congresswoman Tubbs Jones, we share a similar background. I, too, was a prosecutor. I represented the Metropolitan Boston area for some 22 years, as I think most of you are aware. Chris, you are right. This is an issue that has a significant moral dimension, but I think in terms of policy, we should repeat as often as possible that it is an issue of public safety.
When in my former career I had a responsibility for investigating and prosecuting crimes within the major penal institutions in Massachusetts, they were within my jurisdiction, so I became very familiar with the history of those inmates. When there were no programs available, when we released these individuals back into the community, what we were doing in effect were introducing time bombs, social time bombs back into our neighborhoods, and not only would they recidivate, but the order of magnitude of violence that they perpetrate would have escalated.
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So this isand Governor, you used the term several timescommon sense. Common sense dictates that here is part of an answer, part of an answer to increase safety within our communities. So it should not be unanticipated or unexpected that two former prosecutors like Stephanie and myself should be ardent advocates for this approach, because it does make sense, and it enhances public safety. And again, it relieves the burden, if you will, on a criminal justice system that has difficulty finding resources to simply process people through.
And that's not healthy for the criminal justice system. And it does save taxpayers' dollars. Let's put aside the altruism for a moment. This is a cheap investment. Not only are you enhancing public safety, giving people, as Chris, you indicated, an opportunity predicated on our sense of morality to have another chance, but you're saving tax dollars.
I'm in my fifth term, my ninth year. This is the most sensible legislation that has come before this Committee since I have been here. I applaud the Chairman, the Ranking Member, and other cosponsors and the four of you as well as Congressman Portman for this work. I would hope that we would put this on a fast track.
This has been one of those issues where Democrats can support fast track; and get this on the President's desk before the end of the year. Stephanie.
Ms. TUBBS JONES. I just want to add, I thank you for those words. In Attachment B, CORE Ohio, that I gave you, Director Wilkinson says planning for the offender's successful return to the community would begin at reception. Needs as well as risks would be identified as well as services to be provided during the offender's stay in the institution to meet those needs.
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This is the program in Ohio, and this is what we're really looking at, reentry as soon as they hit. But I also would recommend to my colleagues there are a number of nonprofits out here who have done studies and who have information that can assist you in determining the cost as well as the scientific piece, that they have done that work for us already.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Just one quick question for the Governor: you indicated in your testimony that there were some elements, some groups that opposed your initiative in Maryland, and let me applaud you, Governor, it was extremely refreshing, your testimony; without getting too specific, can you identify them, because I would like to have the former DA from Cuyahoga County in Ohio and myself sit down and tell them what real life is about.
Governor EHRLICH. Can I borrow you to come to Annapolis to testify this January?
Mr. DELAHUNT. Absolutely, I'd be willing.
Governor EHRLICH. All of you? You are all invited, and I will buy you some crab cakes, too.
Mr. CHABOT. Would the Gentleman yield? I think it's Cuyahoga, but [Laughter.]
Mr. DELAHUNT. It is one of those, you know, kind of
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Mr. CHABOT. You are not a Buckeye, so we wouldn't expect that.
Mr. DELAHUNT. What is a Buckeye, anyway? [Laughter.]
Mr. CHABOT. We have actually got a buckeye tree in our back yard. I'll bring you one.
Governor EHRLICH. I think that the blunt answer is twofold: one is a little bit counterintuitive for a Republican governor in our State to be pushing this hard, and the politics plays out a little bit there. But on the tangible end, it is some folks within the system, obviously, who have job descriptions; they have had them forever. Some are multigeneration; we're talking about creating treatment slots here. This is fundamentally different, a different philosophical approach, and change bringssometimes, it brings resistance.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I would hope, and we've done similar kinds of efforts in Massachusetts, and I think those that are there find that they're challenged, and it's new opportunity, and they discover a new energy because they see the results. And that would be my admonition to those that are reluctant and are concerned about change.
Governor EHRLICH. I think you're correct.
Mr. DELAHUNT. They will have an entirely new perspective and feel a profound reward when they see the results.
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Governor EHRLICH. Absolutely agree.
Mr. COBLE. The Gentleman's time has expired.
I say to the Gentleman from Ohio the accent of the Gentleman from Massachusetts is clearly not Buckeye. [Laughter.]
And before I recognize Mr. Flake, I want to say to Mr. Delahunt, well said. I don't normally embrace fast track proposals, as you all know around here, but this is one issue that I would warmly embrace fast track.
The Gentleman from Arizona.
Mr. FLAKE. I thank the Chairman. I apologize for coming in late. I was at the conference meeting referenced. But I've read through some of the written testimony. Just with a question, this is $110 million authorized for the program. Whatwhy, the relevant question, I think, is why should the Federal Government do this? These are State prisons. The State obviously has an interest there. We have, obviously, myriad Federal programs that we are trimming back on now, and here, we would be launching a new one, and here, the relevant question is if the payoffs are so good, and I understand and agree with this being an investment that pays dividends in the long run if you don't have as much recidivism. But shouldn't that be recognized at the State level? Can that not be recognized at the State level? I would askgo ahead, Stephanie.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. TUBBS JONES. I will try to be quick with my answer so that others can have an answer.
As a former State prosecutor, many times, an offense can be both a Federal and a State offense, and often, the Feds would opt to let the State do it, maybe because the penalty was greater, or the State would opt to let the Feds do it. But the crime, though it may be State or Federal, is an offense that affects all of America, and in the interests of the reduction of crime across America, it makes sense that the Federal Government be involved in the process.
Mr. DAVIS. Well, with me, everything is philosophical. You can't lead where you don't go, and you can't teach what you don't know. It seems to me that the Federal Government has the responsibility to be the leader in this country. A program like this will actually trigger action on the part of all segments of society, which is what's really going to be needed to change the situation.
There are about 15 million people in this country who fall into this category of being called ex-offenders. Many of them will never, ever, make it back to the mainstream, which means that the rest of society, in one way or another, will be paying for them. The issue of public safety is so great; I often suggest that if I walked down the street with a briefcase in my hand, and people think I'm an insurance salesman rather than a politician or an elected official and that there might be some money in it, chances of some guy needing a fix attacking me for this briefcase that's got nothing but position papers in it that will more than likely send me to the hospital for maybe 6 months or a year at a cost of a half million dollars to somebody that could have been prevented had this individual not felt the need for a $15 bag of crack at that particular moment.
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And so, I think it's a public safety issue and that the Federal Government has some responsibility to its citizenry all over the country, and that's why I think we really need to be involved.
Governor EHRLICH. I struggle with this, because I'm a tenth amendment guy. I sat here, and I respect lines, and I don't think we've suspended the tenth amendment just yet; sometimes, I wonder. On the other hand, I also sat here as an advocate for Representative Scott's Project EXILE, which began in Virginia, which worked, because crime does not know political boundaries; to some extent, you heard that from the Judge Congresswoman there.
But quite frankly, if you're talking about a State system, and you have a specific problem, felon in possession cases where the State law or the State dollars or the State impetus is simply not there, the ability to have the threat of a Federal sentence, Federal venue, Federal jurisdiction, Federal time as a wedge and have the ability of the Federal U.S. Attorneys to take those cases up works.
Now, that's traditional street crime; that's not why the Federal courts were invented. But in that case, it's prosecutors working together to make our streets safer, and that, in my view, does not violate any philosophical lines. And so, I would say we've done that at times because crime knows no boundaries, and we have a historic degree of cooperation in specific areas between State and Federal prosecutors. And so, in that sense, I think it does make some sense.
Mr. FLAKE. Just in closing, I wax philosophical as well, Representative Davis, to say we can't spend money that we ain't got, and we are running a deficit, so any money we spend, we either take from another program, which I am fine to do, and this is certainly more worthy than others. But I worry when we do it at the Federal level, often, the oversight and accountability is gone. The DARE program is a perfect example of that. GAO came in, study after study, and said it's not worth the money spent. And what did we do last year? We increased the money spent with no additional oversight or change to the program.
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So that's my concern going in.
Mr. SCOTT. Will the Gentleman yield?
Mr. FLAKE. I don't have any time left or I would.
Mr. SCOTT. I ask unanimous consent that he be given 30 seconds.
Mr. COBLE. Without objection.
Mr. FLAKE. I yield.
Mr. SCOTT. That's one of the things that the Governor started his remarks with. He wanted it scientifically based so that we don't invest in programs that don't work. And so, that's one of the things that we need is more research to make sure that we put the money where it will make the most difference.
Mr. COBLE. The Gentleman's time has expired.
Governor, what you said initially, Mr. Scott, you impliedly touched on it when you said you're employing the same programs that have failed time and time again serve no good purpose. And I think you put your finger on the pulse when you said that.
The Gentlelady from California, Ms. Waters, is recognized.
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Ms. WATERS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Members.
I'd like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I'd like to thank our Ranking Member and all of our Members who have worked on this legislation. It is overdue. It is overdue, and I do believe, having gone through the legislation that we have an opportunity here to correct many of the mistakes that we have made dealing with crime and the criminal justice system. I know this population very well, having worked with portions of my former district and having lived through the crack cocaine epidemic in the Greater Los Angeles area.
I am particularly concerned about the fact that so many young people, young families were torn apart because of crack cocaine addiction, mothers and fathers both in prison, mother dead, father dead from overdoses, on and on and on; children end up with grandmothers and no resources. This bill speaks to that.
I am particularly concerned about many of the incarcerated who have no hope when they return to society because, you know, number one, once they fill out that application that says, you know, I've been incarcerated, it goes in the wastebasket. They can't get subsidized housing; they can't get student loans. We almost set our societies up for failure and for more crime by basically undermining any opportunity for people who have the right, the desire to go right once they get out to be able to do so.
So I like the idea that there are going to be demonstration projects. Let's find out, let's just stop talking about what doesn't work. Let's find out if there are some new ideas out there. Let's deal with some of the nonprofits. Let us do what this bill, I think, intends to have done. And I just don't like the idea of talking about we don't have enough money to do it.
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I mean, you know, yesterday, when we were at the Rosa Parks funeral, somebody talked about the weapons of mass destruction that are in our domestic society here and the fact that the very kinds of weapons of mass destruction that are destroying our communities, our families, and our children, we fail to recognize. And we talk about we've got money to stay in Iraq for as long as it takes, but we don't have money to invest in our communities and our future.
So I just think this is the most progressive piece of legislation that I have witnessed in a long time in this Congress, and the bipartisan effort is commendable. And I would hope that not only we aggressively pass legislation but that we all work toward its funding. And I just want to say thank you, Members, for having worked on this legislation. Thank you for the time and effort that you have put into it.
I think that this legislation will not only help our cities. It is going to help our rural communities where methamphetamines and crack cocaine and everything else have just infiltrated those communities and give these families and these young people an opportunity. Did we have job training in here?
Is there job training in here, Mr. Davis?
Mr. DAVIS. Yes.
Ms. WATERS. That is very important. And we also have some encouragement in here for employers to hire ex-offenders. I think that we have such a program, a small program in the Los Angeles area that works, where some of theI think we havewe may have some tax incentives in some way. They may not be Federal, but they may be State and/or local. I think that is extremely important. We do have employers who are willing to hire folks who have been incarcerated, but we need to give them some help so that they can do that.
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So thank you all so much for the time and effort that you have put into it. I look forward to having something that I can go home with and say look, we did something good for a change. Thank you very much.
Mr. COBLE. I thank the Gentlelady, and as you just pointed out, Ms. Waters, at least by implication, there are many cooks stirring this stew.
Ms. WATERS. Yes.
Mr. COBLE. Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, maybe some mugwumps or two. But it takes many people from diverse backgrounds, I think, to make it go, and that may be one reason why so many people are embracing this legislation, and I would like to move it forward.
Mr. DAVIS. Mr. Chairman, as you do, could I just thank the gentlewoman for her comments and also indicate that a young man from my office who is from Los Angeles, Ph.D. fellow Bernard Moore, has been working closely on the issue and has written a position paper that I also would like to have included in the record.
Mr. COBLE. Without objection, Mr. Davis, it will be received.
[The information referred to follows:]
POSITION PAPER BY THE HONORABLE DANNY K. DAVIS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, AND BERNARD GLENN-MOORE, CBCF LEGISLATIVE FELLOW
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The Second Chance Act of 2005 H.R. 1704 entitled ''To reauthorize the grant program of the Department of Justice for reentry of offenders into the community, to establish a task force on Federal programs and activities relating to the reentry of offenders into the community, and for other purposes.'' Certainly the topic of this hearing is one of the most important justice initiatives that exist today. Our comments detail why we've attached a high level of importance to the concept of offender reentry.
We would like to provide the Committee with a general overview of the importance of prisoner reentry to the field of corrections before we share more specific comments about the value of the legislation you are considering.
As it moves through the first decade of the twenty-first century, the field of corrections has embarked upon a major reexamination of offender reentry. In fact, offender ''reentry'' is beginning to take the corrections world by storm much overdue.
There is a growing national movement in corrections embracing offender reentry. Remarkably, in a relatively short span of time, an impressive array of efforts has been launched at all levels of government and by untold groups and community organizations to build more effective and innovative responses to the myriad of challenges presented by reentry. These efforts, which we will summarize at various points throughout my remarks, demonstrate clearly that reentry is not a fad. It is here to stay!
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Since the late 1990s, the 1990s, the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., has hosted a series of Reentry Roundtables to assess the state of knowledge and to publish specialized reports on this topic. Leaders in the field, academicians, policymakers, and many other have gathered periodically to debate and share what is known about the challenges and issues that must be addressed to ensure successful reentry transitions for offenders.
The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) in 2000 hosted two national ''public hearings'' on a variety of correctional topics; one such topic was offender reentry. As a result, NIC has launched a significant ''transition from Prison to Community'' project to offer technical assistance and support to a select number of states relative to transforming their systems governing reentry. NIC, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, is well regarded within the field of corrections. It has always been, and continues to be supportive of decision-making informed by credible evidence and sound practice.
In 2001, the U.S. Department of Justice and a broad consortium of federal agencies forged a unique, path breaking partnership by providing a total of $100 million in grant funding spread across all fifty states to address reentry planning and programming for serious, violent, felony offenders. Known as the ''Serious and violent Offender Reentry Initiative,'' its continuing importance to the field has been reinforced by additional funding for a comprehensive, multi-year, multi-site evaluation of selected states' systems of reentry.
As this Committee is well aware, President George W. Bush in his 2004 State of the Union address urged Congress to allocate $300 million over four years to support the reentry transition of offenders. His reentry initiative calls for support for job training and placement services, transitional housing, community and faith-based services, especially in mentoring offenders as they return home. President Bush's recitation that ''America is the land of second chances'' will resonate with corrections professionals for years to come.
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Offender Recidivism and Public Safety
It is notable that approximately 650,000 offenders will be released annually form state and federal prisons to communities and neighborhoods across the land. What this means is that over the course of the next decade, a total of six to seven million formerly incarcerated persons will return home from confinement. The interest in reentry is fueled by many factors including the recognition by legislators, correctional officers, and other that public safety is sorely compromised when hundreds of thousands of prisoners released from institutions are ill-prepared and ill-equipped to succeed in the free world. The Second Chance Act recognizes how reentry is approached, the strategies, initiatives, and programs that are adopted by those in the field matter a great deal to the future well-being of communities, victims, and offenders.
From research and common sense, we know that a majority of offenders released from confinement are all too likely to reoffend. As Dr. Joan Petersilia, a well-known California criminologist states, the problem of offender recidivism remains quite serious. She has compared the results survey by the by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) on a cohort of prisoners released in 1994 with a similar BJS study completed on prisoners released in 1983. Her dismal conclusion is that ''from the available evidencepersons being released from prison today are doing less well than their counterparts released a decade ago in successfully reintegrating into their communities. More of them are being rearrested; these arrests are occurring more quickly; and as a group, ex-convicts are accounting for a growing share of all serious crimes experienced in he United States.'' High rates of recidivism mean pronounced levels of victimization.
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The costs of criminal behavior and recidivism are enormous. High rates of offender recidivism are one factor driving prison population growth across the country. A total of $60 billion was spent on corrections alone in 2002, a figure that shows no sign of decreasing. The national average annual cost of confining a prisoner exceeds $22,000. And these figures do not account for other criminal justice processing costs, or the costspersonal and property relatedto the victims of crime. These are costs that cannot be sustained in the absence of any meaningful return on the investment.
My experience over thirty-two years in corrections suggests unequivocally that the issue of offender recidivism must be addressed from within a fundamentally different framework. Whether the reincarceration is because of a new crime committed or a technical violation, we must begin by recognizing that corrections leaders and correctional systems cannot go it alone. To do so promises to repeat the failures of the past, and guarantees continued high rates of offender recidivism.
Viewing Reentry Holistically
The Second Chance Act clearly acknowledges the importance of taking a holistic approach when dealing with offenders returning home. In Illinois, Ohio, Washington, and other in many other states, innovative initiatives are underway that emphasize building a continuum of services, programming, support, and offender accountability that extends from the time of sentencing well beyond release from prison to any period of supervision that may follow. The key is that these strategies and initiatives must be developed in collaboration and partnership with community groups and organizations, service providers, citizens, victims, and formerly incarcerated individuals. Their ownership and support at the local level are vital to achieving successful pathways for offender reentry.
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The process of planning for reentry begins immediately through a series of assessments at a prison reception center, not a few weeks, or even a few months, before release from incarceration. This effort represents an ambitious and holistic endeavor to create a seamless transition from prison to the community. Reentry planning is an essential component that must begin immediately upon an offender's admission. It draws on a variety of risk and needs assessment tools for prioritizing programming and service delivery as offender's transition through the system. The Second Chance Act recognizes the importance of such assessments to reducing the likelihood of offender recidivism through its provision for grants to state and local governments to draw on such tools.
Ensuring that offenders receive appropriate programming both during confinement and while they are under supervision in the community is an important component of the reentry transition. National statistics, as well as Illinois data, indicate that a significant percentage of offenders who enter state and federal prison have previous histories of substance abuse, and/or mental health problems. These offenders require effective intervention and service delivery in a manner that must be sustained both during and after incarceration. The provision in the bill offering demonstration grants supportive of such programming will assist many states in addressing these offenders' unique needs. It is critical, however, that the treatment interventions provided draw from those program models that have demonstrated their effectiveness and value as evidenced by credible evaluations.
One of the more significant costs associated with imprisonment is its impact on the families and children left behind. As research shows, a growing number of prison inmates are parents. During the last decade the total number of parents in prison has increased sharplyfrom an estimated 450,500 in state and federal facilities in 1991 to 721,500 in 1997an increase of sixty percent. These prisoners are parents to 1.5 million children. This figure represents a growth of over one-half million children in the last decade.
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More children are affected by the incarceration of a parent than at any other time in the history of corrections in the United States. In fact, two percent of all minor children and roughly seven percent of all African-American children had a parent in state or federal prison in 1997.
Yet, one of the more sobering trends too often overlooked in correctional management discussions is the impact incarceration and reentry have on families, fathers, mothers, children, siblings, and other who are connected to a family network. Policymakers and others have not paid enough attention to how the experience of incarceration and reentry affects families and children. Nor have they paid sufficient attention to how engaging families and prisoners during and after confinement may contribute to more successful reentry outcomes.
The Second Chance Act recognizes the importance of family involvement in reentry. We strongly support its commitment to provide grant funding to states and local jurisdictions to expand family-based treatment centers that target comprehensive treatment services for the family as a unit. Family case management that starts inside and continues into the community following an offender's release will contribute to successful reentry transitions. We also support the bill's provision that calls for removing the age limitation for grandparents to receive support and services under those circumstances in which they have assumed custody and care for their grandchildren while one or both parents are incarcerated.
Improving Communities' Quality of Life
The Second Chance Act recognizes the vital role that community-based organizations and local community members should play in returning offenders to their home and communities so that they can be productive and remain crime free. Communities and local citizens bring expertise, knowledge of resources, and often a willingness to assist offenders in making a successful reentry transition. Mentoring represents a particularly important component in this process. Mentors whether through faith-based, or other community organizations offer guidance, direction, and often a compassionate commitment to work with ex-offenders as they reacquire the skills and competencies they need to make it once they are released.
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Collateral Sanctions and Barriers to Reentry
Offenders released from prison experience a range of barriers affecting their prospects for a successful return home. Since 1980, numerous laws have been passed restricting the kinds of jobs for which ex-prisoners can be hired, easing the requirements for their parental rights to be terminated, restricting their access to public welfare and housing subsidies, and limiting their right to vote. Though the rationale for these changes may have been well intentioned, their impact has been cumulative and deleterious to offender reentry.
Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, called these ''invisible punishments'' by which he means the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and legal residency in the United States. Referred to by others as collateral sanctions, they represent laws, regulations, and administrative rules that often operate largely out of public view. They may carry serious, adverse, and unfair consequences for the individuals affected.
LOOKING AHEAD: THE FUTURE OF REENTRY
We are optimistic about the future of reentry. The scale and scope of the national focus on reentry is unique to the extent that it encompasses a holistic perspective. The Second Chance Act provides a very sensible balance that recognizes reentry is about public safety, at the same time, it is about returning offenders home as tax-paying and productive citizens. As we think about the past and our prospects for the future, it is very evident to me that we do not have whole lot viable optionsother than to embrace reentry. Reentry must be done correctly. That means drawing on reentry best practices, seeking active collaboration and sustainable community and faith-based partners, engaging families across the full spectrum of reentry, and reducing those barriers that undermine offenders' successful those goals, when coupled with the very vital support provided by the Second Chance Act, we will experience outcomes that create safer communities.
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Mr. COBLE. And I would like to ask the Members of the Subcommittee, if they could, after we adjourn, to hang around. We are going to mark up the meth bill, and it won't take more than two or 3 minutes.
Governor, again, welcome back to the Hill. My colleagues, thank you all for a very significant contribution. And we welcome as well, Governor, your entourage from Maryland and Mr. Scott and I did not have to call on the troopers to keelhaul anyone.
Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. COBLE. The Gentlelady from California.
Ms. WATERS. If I could have unanimous consent for 30 seconds: I forgot to thank Mr. Cannon and the Governor. I really meant to do that. I was just so excited, having run back from a press conference. For your leadership, Mr. Cannon, and thank you, Mr. Governor, for spending the time that you have spent today. This is very important, and I think that you're going to be responsible for some changes.
Thank you very much.
Mr. COBLE. I thank the Gentlelady, and the record will remain open for 7 days if you all want to submit additional information, and the Subcommittee stands adjourned.
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A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ROBERT C. SCOTT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF VIRGINIA, AND RANKING MEMBER, SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME, TERRORISM, AND HOMELAND SECURITY
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank you for scheduling this hearing on H.R. 1704, the Second Chance Act. This is a bi-partisan bill that takes a significant step in the right direction toward ensuring that those who leave our state and federal prisons have the assistance and support they need to avoid returning. The primary reason for us to develop this legislation is not simply to assist offenders who are returning to the community. The primary reason is to lower the prospects that any of us will be the victim of recidivism. Second reason, lower the cost to taxpayers who have to pay for the recidivism.
This year, close to 700,000 people will leave prison in the U.S. Most of them are ill-prepared to succeed in earning a living and leading a law-abiding life, and the resources available to assist them re-enter successfully are very limited. The addition of a felony record and a prison stay certainly does not assist their job or social development prospects. So, with no or limited education, resources, job skills, federal benefits disqualifications due to drug or other convictions, and often no family or community support, not surprisingly, some two-thirds of released prisoners are rearrested for new crimes within 3 years of their release.
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Although the national crime rate has fallen significantly over the last decade, we are seeing a continuing and unprecedented increase in our prison and jail populations. One philosopher noted that when you find yourself in a whole, the first thing to do is to stop digging, but we seem not ready to do that, just yet, as policy makers. Right after this hearing we will be marking up a bill with more mandatory minimum sentences and more severe penalties on existing ones.
All of this focus on increasing sentences has led us to the point that we now have, on a daily basis, over 2.2 million people locked up in our nations prisons and jails, a 5 fold increase over the past 20 years. The federal prison population, alone, has increased more than 7-fold over the past 20 years. In 1984, the daily lockup count for our prisons and jails was just over 400,000 with about 25,000 prisoners federal prisoners. Today, there are over 2 million state prisoners and almost 190,000 federal prisoners, and the population is growing. According to both The Sentencing Project and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the primary reasons for this tremendous growth in prison and jail populations has been longer sentences resulting from determinant sentencing schemes, and mandatory minimum sentences. Over 50% of incarcerated inmates are in on non-violent crimes, with the greatest percentage of those being for drug violations.
As a result of this focus on incarceration, the U.S. being the world's leading incarcerator, by far, with an incarceration rate of 726 inmates per 100,000 population in 2004. The closest competitor is Russia with 532 inmates per 100,000 population. The U.S. locks up its citizens at a rate 58 times that of the industrialized nations to which we are most similarCanada and western Europe. Thus, the rate per 100,000 population is 142 in England/Wales, 117 in Australia, 116 in Canada, 91 in Germany, and 85 in France. And despite all of our tough sentencing for crimes, over 95% of inmates will be released at some point. The question is whether they re-enter society in a context that better prepares them and assists them in leading law-abiding lives, or continue the cycle of 2/3 returning in years? So, if we are going to continue to send more and more people to prison with longer and longer sentences, we should do as much as we reasonably can to assure that when hey do leave they don't come back due to new crimes.
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That's why the Second Chance Act is very important, and I applaud its developers and lead cosponsorsFormer Representative Portman, Rep. Danny Davis, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Rep Cannon. It is bi-partisan bill supported by 88 cosponsors, including myself, and virtually all of the criminal justice advocates and organizations, including law enforcement, who work with or are familiar with the situation encountered by those leaving our prisons today. About the only criticism I have heard of the bill and its provisions is that they don't go far enough to fully address the problems facing those re-entering society from prison. I agree with that criticism, but feel that this bill is worthy of support as a good first step. I am also a cosponsor of a prisoner re-entry support bill developed by Representative John Conyers in the last Congress that will be refiled this Congress. That bill addresses many of the programs and issues touched by this bill, but it goes further and actually implements the programs on a national level.
I have seen the value of a prisoner re-entry program. A study of the Virginia CARES prisoner reentry program, which had only meager resources for a statewide program, revealed that the program had a 25% reduction in recidivism when compared to like prisoners released. who did not have the benefit of the program.
As a society, we breathe a sigh of relief when a long sentence is issued for a crime, as if that is the end of our responsibilities. With the numbers of prisoners, releases and reincarcerations growing exponentially, we can no longer afford, financially or morally, to allow ourselves the luxury of tough on crime rhetoric, and tough on crime policies, with no attention to what happens next. To continue to do so is unfair to unsuspecting crime victims, including our children, short-sighted and irresponsible.
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So, Mr. Chairman, I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses as to what we may be able to do to begin to seriously address this growing societal problem, and to working with you to further develop and pass this critical legislation. And I would like to thank Gov. Ehrlich for appearing here today. When I saw his name among others on a members panel, that all seemed to fit because I had forgotten the reason I had not seen him for a while. Thank you.
LETTER SUBMITTED BY BILL HANSELL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES (NACO), AND BEVERLY O'NEILL, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF MAYORS (USCM) TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE
LETTER SUBMITTED BY LEWIS E. GALLANT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE DIRECTORS, INC. (NASADAD), TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE
POLICY BRIEF SUBMITTED BY THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE DIRECTORS, INC. (NASADAD), TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE