SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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OFFENDER RE-ENTRY: WHAT IS NEEDED TO PROVIDE CRIMINAL OFFENDERS WITH A SECOND CHANCE?
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME, TERRORISM,
AND HOMELAND SECURITY
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
NOVEMBER 3, 2005
Serial No. 10965
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
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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
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
STEVE KING, Iowa
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTOM 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
PHILIP G. KIKO, General Counsel-Chief of Staff
PERRY H. APELBAUM, Minority Chief Counsel
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSubcommittee 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
MICHAEL VOLKOV, Acting Chief Counsel
ELIZABETH SOKUL, Special Counsel for Intelligence
and Homeland Security
JASON CERVENAK, Full Committee Counsel
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBOBBY VASSAR, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
NOVEMBER 3, 2005
The Honorable Tom Feeney, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida, and Member, 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 Chris Van Hollen, a Representative in Congress from the State of Maryland
Mr. David Hagy, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, United States Department of Justice, substituting for Ms. Regina Schofield, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, United States Department of Justice
Prepared Statement of Ms. Regina Schofield
Mr. Pat Nolan, President of Justice Fellowship, Prison Fellowship Ministries
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Mr. Arthur Wallenstein, Director, Montgomery County Department of Correction & Rehabilitation
Ms. Carol Shapiro, President and Founder, Family Justice
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
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
Prepared Statement of the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, and Member, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Letter to the Subcommittee from Bill Hansell, President, National Association of Counties (NACo), and Beverly O'Neill, President, The Uniteed States Conference of Mayors (USCM)
Letter to the Subcommittee from Calvin Bass, President, and Kevin Stout, Vice President, Lifer's Group, Inc.
Sample Questions submitted by Charlie Sullivan, Co-Director, Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (C.U.R.E.)
Revised Prepared Statement of Arthur Wallenstein, Director, Montgomery County Department of Correction & Rehabilitation
OFFENDER RE-ENTRY: WHAT IS NEEDED TO PROVIDE CRIMINAL OFFENDERS WITH A SECOND CHANCE?
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 12:21 p.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable Tom Feeney (acting Chair of the Subcommittee) presiding.
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Mr. FEENEY [presiding]. The hearing will come to order.
This is an oversight hearing of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. The topic is ''Offender Reentry: What is Needed to Provide Offenders With a Real Second Chance?'' We welcome our guests here today, and we will administer an oath to them and introduce them in a second.
Chairman Coble is probably not going to be with us today, but it is a great opportunity to sit in, in his stead. I want to welcome everybody to this important oversight hearing to examine the issues of prisoner reentry as a follow-up to the earlier legislative hearing this morning on H.R. 1704, the ''Second Chance Act of 2005.'' This oversight hearing is intended to provide the Subcommittee with a closer look at the practical issues Federal, State, and local governments face with offender reentry. More specifically, in my mind, we need to examine carefully which strategies and programs work, which do not, and how future resources should be directed to ensure successful transitions for offenders.
The scope of this issue touches each and every community. The financial burdens on Government of incarceration and reincarceration of offenders are substantial, and the impact on families and communities is huge. We need to ensure that governments have in place appropriate programs to ease this transition for offenders, to bring families together once again, and to make sure that offenders get the necessary support so that they can truly have a second chance to live a law abiding life.
I recognize that reentry is a public safety issue, not just a corrections issue. Community safety in promoting healthy and productive families benefits everyone. This is a bipartisan issue where innovative solutions are needed. We all know that approximately 650,000 inmates will be released from State prisons in the next year. Our challenge is to make sure that we reduce significantly the rate of recidivism.
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Let me cite a few facts which demonstrate the broad impact of this problem. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, corrections expenditures increased from $60 billion in 1982 to $90 billion in the year 2001. Between 1991 and 1999, the number of children with a parent in a Federal or State correctional facility increased by 60 percent from approximately 836,000 to 1.5 million.
Fifty-seven percent of Federal and 70 percent of State inmates used drugs regularly before prison. We need to examine the demand for education, job placement, health care, drug abuse treatment, and related services needed to provide support to offenders. There is no one size fits all solution to this problem, but I expect we will hear about different approaches to common problems today.
In my view, we need to know specifically what drug treatment programs work, what do not, and how best we can support providers of such services. The same series of questions needs to be asked with respect to each and every component of any full-scale reentry program. I'm anxious to hear from our distinguished panel of witnesses, and I would now yield to the Ranking minority Member of this Subcommittee, the gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for scheduling this oversight hearing on the issue of what is needed to provide criminal offenders with a real second chance. We heard this morning from policy makers about what the problems are regarding prisoner reentry, the need to provide them with a second chance to develop and lead a law abiding lifestyle and the level of bipartisan support to meet this goal. Now, we will hear from experts as to how to get the job done.
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Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, since this morning, we had a brief interlude where we continued doing more of the traditional same. I am delighted that we are back on track actually trying to reduce crime in a cost-effective manner.
But our first step in that would be to pass H.R. 1704, the ''Second Chance Act of 2005.'' That is a bipartisan bill that we heard about this morning that makes a significant step in the right direction toward ensuring that those who leave prisons have the assistance and support they need to avoid returning. Problems we heard about included problems finding work, substance abuse, other mental health treatment, other disqualification for public benefits such as housing, TANF, school loans, and other benefits due to substance abuse and the enormous burden in overcoming societal stigmas associated with being sent to prison, often for a long period of time.
These problems are not the only problems for offenders but the problems for society and individual victims that result from our failure to ensure a second chance for offenders. As we heard this morning, the primary reason for us to develop this legislation is not simply to assist offenders who are returning to the community. It is to reduce the prospects that any law abiding citizens will be victims of crime in the future and also to reduce the costs of incarceration resulting from recidivism.
Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that my statement from this morning be entered into the record at this point. It has statistics about the incarceration rate and other problems that we're addressing, and at that point, I understand my colleague
Mr. FEENEY. Without objection, it is so ordered. We will admit the testimony.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Scott follows:]
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 thank you for scheduling this oversight hearing on the issue of what is needed to provide criminal offenders with a real second chance. We heard this morning from policy makers about what the problems are regarding prisoner reentry, the need to provide them with a second chance to develop and lead a law-abiding lifestyle, and the level of bi-partisan commitment there is to this goal. Now we will hear from the experts on how to best get that job done.
A first step is to pass H.R. 1704, the Second Chance Act. This is a bi-partisan bill that makes a significant step in the right direction toward ensuring that those who leave our prisons have the assistance and support they need to avoid returning. The problems we heard about include problems in finding work, help for their substance abuse and other mental health treatment, disqualifications for public benefits, such as housing, TANF, school loans and other benefits due to substance abuse, and the enormous burden of overcoming societal stigmas and other problems associated with being sent to prison, sometimes for a long period. These problems are not only problems for offenders, but also problems for society and the individual victims that result from our failure to ensure a second chance for offenders. So, the primary reason for us to develop this legislation is not simply to assist offenders who are returning to the community. As we heard this morning, the primary reason is to lower the prospects that any of us will be the victim of recidivism. It would also lower the cost of taxpayers re-incarcerating the offender.
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We know have, on a daily basis, over 2.2 million locked up in our nation's 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 federal prisoners. Today, there are over 2 million state and local prisoners and almost 190,000 federal prisoners, and the population is growing.
All of this focus on incarceration has resulted in the U.S. being the world's leading incarcerator, by far, with an incarceration rate of 725 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. Nearly 700,000 prisoners will leave state and federal prisons this year, and the number will continue to grow. The question is whether they re-enter society in a context that better prepares them and assists them to lead law-abiding lives, or continue the cycle of 2/3 returning in 3 years? 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 they do leave they don't come back due to new crimes.
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 work with you to get it done. Thank you.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCOTT. And I understand my colleague will be introducing one of the witnesses. I think you have been advised of that.
Mr. FEENEY. Yes, we are delighted to have Mr. Van Hollen here, and after we swear them in and we introduce the three other witnesses, we will recognize the gentleman from Maryland. Welcome.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you. I yield back.
Mr. FEENEY. I thank the gentleman, and with that, it is our practice in the Committee here to swear in all witnesses that appear before us. If all of you would please stand and raise your right hand.
Mr. FEENEY. Thank you, and please let the record show each of the witnesses answered in the affirmative, and please have a seat.
We have four distinguished witnesses with us today. Our first witness is Mr. David Hagy. We are delighted to have you today, especially given the fact that you are substituting, I understand, and we are prepared to handle a lot of emergencies in this Committee, but Ms. Schofield is now apparently delivering a baby, or has she delivered?
Mr. HAGY. She is still there. She is working on it. [Laughter.]
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FEENEY. Well, that is one of the few things that we are just simply not prepared for. So we are especially glad to see you, Mr. Hagy, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice Programs of the Department of Justice. Prior to serving at the Justice Department, Mr. Hagy served as director for local coordination in the Office of State and Local Government Coordination at the Department of Homeland Security. For 5 years, he was the chief of staff and policy director for Harris County Judge Echols, where he managed and promoted initiatives in the area of emergency management, transportation, criminal justice and environment. Mr. Hagy holds a bachelor of science from Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. from Tulane University. Welcome, and please pass on our best wishes to Ms. Schofield and her family.
Mr. HAGY. I will. Thank you.
Mr. FEENEY. Our second witness is Mr. Pat Nolan, president of Justice Fellowship, the criminal justice reform arm of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Mr. Nolan served in the California State Assembly and is the author of When Prisons Return. Mr. Nolan was appointed by Speaker Hastert to the nine-member U.S. Prison Rape Elimination Commissions. He's a graduate of the University of Southern California, where he also received his Juris Doctorate. Mr. Nolan, welcome. We are delighted to have you with us.
Our third witness is Mr. Arthur Wallensteinoh, I am sorry. I thought that you were going to introduce Ms. Shapiro.
I would now like to recognize from Maryland, Congressman Van Hollen.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Well, thank you very much.
I want to thank the Chairman today, Mr. Feeney, and Ranking Member, Mr. Scott, and thank them first of all for allowing me to participate in the Subcommittee hearing today and thank all of you who are going to be testifying today.
It is a special privilege for me to be able to introduce someone I have known for a long time and who has done such a terrific job in this whole area of prisoner rehabilitation, Arthur Wallenstein, who is the Director of the Department of Corrections in Montgomery County, one of the counties in my Congressional district, and we are very proud of the work he has done.
As you said, Mr. Chairman, at the outset, it is important to find out here what works and what doesn't work, because obviously, as people return to the community after being in prison, it is important that we make sure we provide those opportunities and those services that work. That's obviously the entire idea here. So I want to thank Mr. Wallenstein for his leadership in this area.
Before he was in Montgomery County, he also served as the Director of the King County Department of Adult Detention in Seattle, Washington, and as the director of the Bucks County Department of Corrections in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and we welcome you here. Thanks for being here.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. FEENEY. Welcome, Mr. Wallenstein, and thank you, Mr. Van Hollen.
Our final witness today is Carol Shapiro, founder and president of Family Justice, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce recidivism and break the cycle of involvement in the criminal justice system. Ms. Shapiro has served as a consultant to the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute of Corrections. Additionally, she previously served as assistant commissioner for the New York City Department of Corrections. Ms. Shapiro is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Research. Ms. Shapiro, I guess is
Ms. SHAPIRO. Philadelphia region.
Mr. FEENEY. And believe it or not, I'm Philadelphia born myself.
But with that, we are delighted to have all of you here, and Mr. Hagy, we are going to ask you to observe our 5-minute time limit, and then, the Members will each have 5 minutes to question you. You will see the light system, which will give you a yellow 1-minute warning, and then, when the red comes on, we would ask you to sort of wrap up your thought.
TESTIMONY OF DAVID HAGY, DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, SUBSTITUTING FOR REGINA SCHOFIELD, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
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Mr. HAGY. Okay; thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Scott, and Members of the Subcommittee. Again, I'm David Hagy, as you know. I'm Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Justice Programs and substituting for Regina, and we wish her the best of luck, and we're anxious to hear the news.
I'm honored to stand in for her this afternoon and discuss efforts to reintegrate offenders successfully back into their communities. Most offenders, including the most violent offenders, will eventually return to their home communities. OJP's Bureau of Justice Statistics found that more than two-thirds of all released offenders were rearrested within 3 years.
This cycle of crime and imprisonment takes obviously a heavy toll. It is a threat to public safety and a drain on resources. The Administration has been greatly concerned about this issue since early in President Bush's first term. That's why, in 2002, the Department of Justice, in a partnership with other Federal agencies, launched Going Home: the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative known as SVORI. This initiative focuses on those offenders most likely to pose a risk when they return to their communities.
In his 2004 State of the Union Address, the President proposed a broad, new reentry initiative, the President's Prisoner Reentry Initiative or PRI. This new Federal initiative is led by the Department of Labor. It will harness the resources and experience of faith-based and community organizations in working with nonviolent offenders in 30 urban communities across the nation. The Department of Labor expects to announce these awards soon.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These two initiatives complement but do not duplicate each other. Like SVORI, PRI will help communities provide services to returning offenders, including mentoring and job training. PRI will serve nonviolent offenders through local organizations, while SVORI serves serious and violent offenders through funding awarded primarily to Government agencies. PRI is just beginning, while SVORI funding will end next year.
Under SVORI, we have awarded more than $120 million to 69 grantees, covering all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. Awards have helped jurisdictions develop and implement their own reentry strategies. Each strategy was designed by States and local communities to meet their own specific needs, but all strategies share a three-pronged approach that covers every stage of the reentry process.
While the offenders are still behind bars, we assess their needs, skills, and risk to public safety and develop individual reentry plans. Upon their release, the offenders are closely supervised and directed to follow their reentry plans. They are often required to report to a judge or a corrections officer and receive treatment and training. Finally, a network of public and private agencies provides long-term support. Cooperation and coordination across the community spectrum help reentry sites make sure that efforts are both comprehensive and coordinated.
The feedback from SVORI sites to date has been very encouraging. Many SVORI-funded programs have been used to bridge the gaps in existing State and local efforts. They are providing much needed transition services, counseling, mentoring and job training. What's just as positive is that the SVORI programs have developed their own innovative strategies. I have included a number of these examples in my written testimony which, with your permission, I am submitting for the record.
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Determining what works and what doesn't work is critical to our reentry efforts going forward. We are conducting a comprehensive evaluation of SVORI to determine whether the programs funded have met their goals, are cost-effective, and most important, have reduced recidivism. We have already put information from the SVORI evaluation on the Web and will continue to share findings from the evaluation as soon as they become available.
We can all agree that there is much work still to be done. The Department will directly support PRI efforts through pre-release services to prisoners who will be served in PRI communities. We will also take what we have already learned from SVORI and what we will learn from our evaluations and share it with the field. We want to encourage more reentry efforts throughout the country that are based on sound planning and a thorough knowledge of what works.
This Administration believes that successfully reintegrating offenders back into their communities is one of the most pressing issues facing our nation. State and local governments have shown that thoughtful policies and programs can be developed to address this issue. The Federal partners, including the Department of Justice, are committed to doing all we can to support this continued good work. This commitment is even reflected in the words of President Bush: ''America is the land of second chances, and when the gates of prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.''
We greatly appreciate your interest in this critical public safety issue. I welcome the opportunity to answer any questions that you may have, and I thank you for having me here today.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Ms. Schofield follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF REGINA B. SCHOFIELD
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Mr. FEENEY. Thank you, Mr. Hagy.
Mr. Nolan, you are recognized.
TESTIMONY OF PAT NOLAN, PRESIDENT OF JUSTICE FELLOWSHIP, PRISON FELLOWSHIP MINISTRIES
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NOLAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members. It is an honor to be here with you.
I bring a unique background to Prison Fellowship. In addition to being a member of the legislature in California for 15 years and Republican leader of the Assembly for 4 years, I was then prosecuted for acceptance of a campaign contribution. That was part of an FBI sting. I pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering and served for 26 months in Federal custody, another four in a halfway house.
So I had a chance to see the system from both sides. As a member of the legislature, I was reliably tough on crime. I believed it would keep our public safer. As a prisoner, I saw that the policies that I had so ardently supported were not making the public safer, because the men and women with whom I was housed for over 2 years weren't being prepared to return to the streets. Nothing was being done to reform their character or their hearts, and in fact, the skills that men and women develop in prison to survive make them antisocial when they get out.
This is a problem of huge magnitude, as we have criminalized so many activities and filled the prisons with 2.2 million Americans now; that is one out of every 134 Americans is incarcerated as we speak. As a legislator, I forgot about the back end, that these men and women would be coming out. As you have heard, there are over 650,000 men and women coming out this year. That's over 1,600 per day released.
That 600,000 is more than three times the size of the United States Marine Corps, and we all have grieved over the last few weeks at the destruction and devastation and suffering from the result of Katrina. We have seen those displaced families placed into other communities desperate for food, shelter, clothing and medical care, and we vehicle been frustrated that Government has been overwhelmed as they attempted to absorb these hundreds of thousands of families and provide them with those necessities of life.
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This time, our prisons will release three to four times the number of families into communities from prison, families desperate for food, clothing, shelter, and medical care, and our communities are being overwhelmed by this. We have done so little to prepare our communities for these people coming back. But it won't just be coming back this year. More than that number will be coming back the next year and more than that the following year, and more than that the following year. We are going to have three to four Katrinas every year visited on our communities into the foreseeable future.
This bill is very important first of all, because it will give the money to the States to begin coordinating their efforts to respond to this. Reentry is not just a corrections problem. Corrections is obviously central to this, because they house the offenders. But it is a community problem. As the International Association of Chiefs of Police has said in support of this measure, the police are the first intake when the system fails, when these people get back in trouble, and unfortunately, that happens very quickly. Within 3 years, over two-thirds are rearrested.
Within the first 6 months, over half of those that fail on reentry will have failed already within 6 months. Those first few days and weeks are so critical. Little is being done to prepare the inmates for return. While 80 to 85 percent of the inmates have a substance abuse problem in prison, less than 20 percent receive any treatment while they are in there. Only a third have received any vocational or educational training.
There are several policies that the Government has that impede our ability to help these men and women. Dr. Martin Luther King said to change someone, you must first love them, and they must know that you love them. We can't expect the corrections staff to love these men and women, but we can expect people from the community, especially the churches to come in and love them, and they do.
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And yet, corrections policies often make that very difficult. The Bureau of Prisons currently prohibits a religious volunteer that has been mentoring and coaching a prisoner inside from maintaining contact with them when they leave. Most States have the same prohibitions on their religious volunteers. That makes no sense. I would urge all of you to contact the Bureau of Prisonsthey say they are considering changing thatand ask them to change that policy, because the studies show, and I will finish with this, Dr. Byron Johnson studied a prison fellowship program called the Interchange Freedom Initiative, studied our program in Texas. He found that those in a matched group recidivated within 2 years 20.3 percent of the time.
Those that went through our program and completed it, stayed in touch with the mentor, stayed active in their church, followed up with their probation officer, only 8 percent recidivated. Now, you don't have to believe in religion to think that has an impact, but you can believe in the science of the study. It will save the public money. And the reason it saves money, Dr. Johnson made clear, is the relationship between that loving mentor and that person, to help them through the difficult steps back to the community.
Thank you for handling this important issue in such a wonderful way.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Nolan follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF PAT NOLAN
Mr. Chairman and honorable members, I am grateful for this opportunity to testify in support of the Second Chance Act. This important legislation will help make our communities safer and reduce the number of victims by helping offenders make a safe and successful transition from prison to the community.
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My name is Pat Nolan. I am a Vice President of Prison Fellowship and serve as President of their criminal justice reform arm, Justice Fellowship. I bring a unique background to Prison Fellowship. I served for 15 years as a member of the California State Assembly, four of those as the Assembly Republican Leader. I was a leader on crime issues, particularly on behalf of victims' rights. I was one of the original sponsors of the Victims' Bill of Rights (Proposition 15) and was awarded the ''Victims Advocate Award'' by Parents of Murdered Children.
I was prosecuted for a campaign contribution I accepted, which turned out to be part of an FBI sting. I pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering, and served 25 months in a federal prison and four months in a halfway house. During my time in prison, I had an opportunity to see the impact of the programs that I had so ardently supported while in the legislature. What I saw troubled me, because I observed that little was being done to prepare my fellow inmates for their release.
Now, God has placed me in a position that I can share these observations with criminal justice officials, using my experiences as a lawyer, legislator and prisoner to improve our justice system. Justice Fellowship works with government officials at the federal and state levels, helping them develop policies that repair the harm done to victims, reform the hearts of offenders, and, in doing that, restore peace to communities. For the last three years, my efforts have been devoted largely to helping government leaders refocus their policies and resources to better prepare inmates for their return to freedom.
Since January, I have been to 17 states, working with governors, attorneys general, directors of corrections, judges, victims, legislators, prosecutors and pastors to assist them in revamping their prisoner reentry programs. I am honored to have this opportunity to share my observations on what is being done, and not being done, to prepare inmates to live healthy, productive, law-abiding lives.
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First, I would like to thank you for holding this hearing. The importance of prisoner reentry is enormous. Nationally, more than 600,000 inmates will be released from America's prisons this year. To put that in context, that is three times the size of the U.S. Marine Corps. An average of over 1,600 offenders per day leave prison and return to neighborhoods across the country. Their sentences are completed, and these men and women are coming out. But our communities are largely unprepared.
We all grieve at the devastation and suffering hurricane Katrina visited upon the people of the Gulf Coast. We were all frustrated as we watched governments overwhelmed trying to meet the needs of the families, stripped of all their worldly possessions, searching for food, shelter, clothing and medical care. This year our criminal justice system will release the equivalent of two to three Katrinas to our local communities, straining their ability to feed, clothe, house and provide medical care to hundreds of thousands of families. And next year an even greater number will return needing these services, and the same the following year and each year into the foreseeable future.
What are we doing to prepare these communities to help these men and women and their families when they are released? What has been done to prepare these returning inmates to live healthy, productive, law-abiding lives? What kind of neighbors will they be? Each of us has a stake in seeing that these men and women make a safe and successful return to their communities. Yet, very little is being done to help them make that transition successfully. As President Bush said in his 2004 State of the Union address, ''We know from long experience that if they can't find work, or a home, or help, they are much more likely to commit more crimes and return to prison.''
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The fact of the matter is most of the inmates we have released do commit more crimes. Over the last thirty years, the rate of rearrest has hovered stubbornly around sixty-seven percent. If two-thirds of the patients leaving a hospital had to be readmitted, we would quickly find a new hospital. So also, we must find a better way to prepare inmates for their release if we are to have safer communities. The Second Chance Act will provide the states and our communities help in developing better ways to do that.
Currently, most returning offenders spend years in overcrowded prisons where they are exposed to the horrors of violence and isolated from family and friends. Most are idle in prison, warehoused with little preparation to make better choices when they return to the free world. Just one-third of all released prisoners will have received vocational or educational training in prison. While approximately three of every four inmates have a substance abuse problem, less than 20 percent will have had any substance abuse treatment before they are released. The number of returning inmates is now four times what it was 20 years ago, yet there are fewer programs to prepare them return to their communities.
These men and women face additional barriers, often called ''invisible punishments:'' They are frequently denied parental rights, driver's licenses, student loans, the right to vote, and residency in public housingwhich is often the only housing that they can afford.
Further, little is done to change the moral perspective of offenders. Most inmates do not leave prison transformed into law-abiding citizens; in fact, the very skills inmates develop to survive inside prison make them anti-social when they are released. Most are given a bus ticket to their hometown, gate money of between $10 and $200, and infrequently a new set of clothes. Upon leaving prison virtually all will have great difficulty finding employment.
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If we do not prepare these inmates for their return to the community, the odds are great that their first incarceration will not be their last.
The moment offenders step off the bus they face several critical decisions: Where will they live, where will they be able to find a meal, where should they look for a job, how will they get to a job interview, and where can they earn enough money to pay for necessities? These returning inmates are also confronted with many details of personal business, such as obtaining identification cards and documents, making medical appointments, and working through the many everyday bureaucratic problems that occur during any transition. These choices prompt feelings of intense stress and worry over the logistics of their return to the outside world. To someone who has had no control over any aspect of their lives for many years, each of these problems can be difficult. In accumulation, they can be overwhelming.
My own experience provides a good example. Shortly after my release from prison to the halfway house, some friends took me to lunch at a local deli. The waiter came over to take our orders. Everyone else told him what they wanted, but I kept poring over the menu. My eyes raced over the columns of choices. I knew that I was supposed to order, but the number of options overwhelmed me. My friends sat in embarrassed silence. I was paralyzed. The waiter looked at me impatiently. I began to panic. How ridiculous that I wasn't able to do such a simple thing as order lunch. Finally, in desperation I ordered the next item my eyes landed on, a turkey sandwich. I didn't even want it, but at least it put an end to this embarrassing incident.
For two years I hadn't been allowed to make any choices about what I ate. Now I was having a hard time making a simple choice that most people face every day. If I had this much difficulty after only a couple of years in prison, think how hard it is for those inmates who haven't made any choices for five, ten, or fifteen years. And what about those who didn't have the wonderful home, the loving family, the strong faith and the good education that I had? They face a baffling array of options and little preparation. Is it any surprise that so many newly released prisoners make some bad choices and end up back in prison?
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The choices offenders make immediately after release are extremely important. Of the ex-prisoners who fail, over half will be arrested within the first six months. That is not much time to turn their lives around. One study of rearrests in New York City found that the rate was especially high during the first hours and days following release. This early window of time is the most intense period for ex-prisoners, when they may be overwhelmed by the accumulation of large and small decisions facing them. On average, ex-offenders have only a one-in-three chance of getting through their first three years without being arrested.
As the number of people released from prison and jail increases steadily, we cannot afford to continue to send them home with little preparation. These policies have harmed too many victims, destroyed too many families, overwhelmed too many communities, and wasted too many lives as they repeat the cycle of arrest, incarceration, release and rearrest. The toll this system takes is not measured merely in human lives: The strain on taxpayers has been tremendous. As jail and prison populations have soared, so have corrections budgets, creating fiscal crises in virtually every state and squeezing money for schools, health care, and roads from state budgets.
It does not have to be this way. Fortunately, there are many things that the government in partnership with the community, and in particular our churches, can do that increase the likelihood that inmates will return safely to our communities.
One of the most important provisions of the Second Chance Act will provide grants to community and faith-based non-profits to link offenders and their families with mentors. Let me tell you why this is so important.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is essential that returning inmates have a friend they can turn to as they take their difficult first steps in freedom. A loving mentor can help them think through their decisions and hold them accountable for making the right moral choices.
The importance of mentors to returning prisoners was stressed by Dr. Byron Johnson in his recent study of the Texas InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI), the reentry program operated by Prison Fellowship under contract with the state. Dr. Johnson's study found that IFI graduates were two and a half times less likely to be reincarcerated than inmates in a matched comparison group. The two-year post-release reincarceration rate among IFI graduates in Texas was 8 percent, compared with 20.3 percent of the matched group.
Dr. Johnson emphasized that mentors were ''absolutely critical'' to the impressive results. The support and accountability provided by mentors often make the difference between a successful return to society and re-offending. As these offenders make the difficult transition back into the community, they need relationships with caring, moral adults. The greater the density of good people we pack around them, the greater the chance that they will be successfully replanted into the community.
IFI recruits members of local churches to give at least one hour a week to mentor the IFI inmates, both while they are still incarcerated and after they return to their community. In his interviews with the IFI participants, Dr. Johnson found that the mentors' weekly visits were very important to the inmates. ''Without exception, IFI participants have indicated the critical impact volunteers have made in their lives. The sincerity and time commitment of volunteers has simply overwhelmed program participants.'' The benefit of these relationships with their mentors derives not only from the things discussed, but also for the love conveyed. By faithfully keeping their commitment to the weekly mentoring sessions, the mentors show a commitment to the inmates that many have never experienced before in their lives. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, ''To change someone, you must first love them, and they must know that you love them.''
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While many people would never associate the word ''love'' with prisoners, love is precisely what has been lacking in the lives of many of these men and women. They have gone through life without anyone caring about them or what they do, nor caring enough about them to coach them as they confront life. Many inmates are emotionally overdrawn checkbooks. We must make deposit, after deposit, after deposit before we will see any positive balance.
A mentor can help the ex-offenders think through employment options and tell them what their employer will expect of them on the job. Many offenders have never had someone in their lives who has held a steady job. They have no model for being a good employee. A mentor can teach them that they need to get up on time, go to work each day, and call their supervisor if they must be late or absent. Offenders may find it difficult to take direction or may lack skills to cope with a difficult boss or fellow employees. A mentor can help them with these and other everyday difficulties of the workplace and teach them the importance of punctuality, politeness, and diplomacy on the job.
Mentors help returning inmates deal with many of the personal problems they typically encounter upon leaving prison: no reliable friends outside their former gang network, marital problems, and no easy way to get on with life.
Mentors can also help the offenders learn decision-making skills and teach them how to keep track of bills and pay them on time. In prison, inmates do not have to deal with any of this. On the street such details may quickly overwhelm them. In short, offenders need to be taught how to make good choices, handle responsibility, and be accountableto make the right choice even when no one is looking.
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Corrections staff can't make this kind of commitment to help each individual prisoner. But volunteer mentors can, and, in fact are, making this commitment in programs throughout the country.
Most of us can remember a teacher, coach, or neighbor who believed in us and helped us believe in ourselves. That is exactly what returning offenders need, yet most have never had someone like that in their lives. Mentors can fill that void. A loving mentor lets returning inmates know that the community is invested in their success. And the Second Chance Act will provide concrete assistance to community and faith-based groups to recruit and train mentors for this essential work.
As you work to improve our criminal justice programs, I suggest you keep several concepts in mind:
The purpose of our criminal justice system is to create safer communities and reduce the number of victims. There is a tendency to focus on institutional safety, rather than community safety. Under this narrow, institutional focus, the surest way to avoid escapes and riots would be to keep prisoners in their cells 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, the public would be in far greater danger after those prisoners were released. Instead of focusing on institutional convenience, correctional policy must be judged by whether it makes the public safer.
Reentry planning should start at intake. Planning for the release of inmates should start as soon as they are sentenced. Assignment to a prison should include factors such as the proximity of the prison to the inmate's family and the availability of needed programs.
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Prison policies should strengthen families. Crime not only has a devastating impact on the direct victims, but also on the families of offenders. Incarceration puts tremendous stress on the spouses and children of offenders. These family members have committed no crime. The stress on the family is exacerbated by policies such as placing inmates far from their families, frequently treating visiting families with disrespect, and charging exorbitant fees for telephone calls.
In addition, there are often preexisting issues of drug abuse, physical abuse, and marital conflict. If these issues are not resolved during incarceration, reentry will be much more difficult. Programs such as La Bodega de la Familia in New York, work with the entire family to strengthen their relationships. A healthy, functioning family is one of the most important predictors for successful reentry. Our prison policies must be changed to strengthen families rather than destabilize them.
Prisons are for people we're afraid of, but many of those filling our prisons are there because we are merely mad at them. The response to a technical violation should not automatically result in return to prison. Obviously, it is important for offenders to learn to live by the rules. However, if an offender is making good progress it makes little sense to throw that all away because he didn't file his paperwork on time or missed a meeting with his probation officer. One judge told me, ''Right now, I can either send him back to prison or let him go to the beach. Give me something in between.''
Inmates should be encouraged to participate in faith based programs. To deal effectively with crime, we must first understand it. At its root, crime is a moral problem. Offenders make bad moral choices that result in harm to their victims. To break the cycle of crime, we must address this immoral behavior. There aren't enough police officers to stop everyone tempted to do something bad from doing it; inmates must rely on inner restraint to keep from harming others.
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Job training and education alone won't transform an inmate from a criminal into a law-abiding citizen. For some inmates such programs merely make them smarter, more sophisticated criminals. It is a changed heart that can transform a prisoner. Unfortunately, many prison programs ignore the moral aspect of crime and avoid all discussion of faith and morality. In doing so, they are missing a significant factor that has proven very effective at changing criminals' behavior: faith. If inmates are to live healthy, productive, law-abiding lives when they return to their communities, we must equip them with moral standards to live up to and a worldview that explains why they should do so.
The community should ''own'' reentry. There is a tendency to view reentry as a program of corrections departments. While our prison systems are certainly central to the reentry process, it is the community that has the most at stake. Many corrections policies make it difficult for community and church groups to be involved in preparing inmates for release. Many systems ''keep their options open'' on release dates, often right up to the day of release, making it impossible to recruit, match and train mentors, locate appropriate housing, arrange for jobs or welcome the inmates at the bus. For reentry programs to be a success, community groups and churches should be viewed as important partners with the state, not as mere auxiliaries.
An important example of a corrections policy that makes reentry much more difficult is the so-called ''non-fraternization'' rule. I am sure you will be shocked to learn that the Federal Bureau of Prisons and many states DOC's prohibit religious volunteers from being in contact with inmates after they are released. This policy cuts the inmates off from the very people most likely to be able to help them make a successful transition. Corrections policies must be rewritten to encourage mentoring relationships to begin inside prison and continue after release. These healthy relationships should be encouraged, not prohibited. I am told the BOP is considering changes to this policy, but I would urge each of you to press them to eliminate this barrier to effective mentoring without further delay.
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Programs are important, but healthy relationships are even more important. The support and accountability provided by mentors often make the difference between a successful return to society and re-offending. As offenders make the difficult transition back into the community, they need relationships with caring, moral adults. The greater the density of good people we pack around them, the greater the chance that they will be successfully replanted back into the community.
I have written a book, When Prisoners Return, which covers all these issues and is being used by departments of corrections, churches and community organizations to coordinate their efforts to help offenders during the difficult transition from prison to the community. If you and your staff would like copies, I will gladly provide them to you.
As a state legislator I made the mistake of thinking that locking people up ended our worries about them. Only when I was in prison did I realize that most inmates will be released someday, and that doing nothing to prepare them for their release is very dangerous for our communities. By passing the Second Chance Act you will avoid making the same mistake I made in the legislature. I commend the committee members and your excellent staff for developing this important bill.
Mr. FEENEY. Thank you, Mr. Nolan, for your personal story, which is quite compelling.
Mr. Wallenstein, you've got 5 minutes to address us.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTESTIMONY OF ARTHUR M. WALLENSTEIN, DIRECTOR, MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION & REHABILITATION
Mr. WALLENSTEIN. Very good. Pat is sitting next to me, and I want to commend him. I didn't know him a year and a half ago. I've come to know him very well. He visited our correctional system in Montgomery County and brought his board with him. I think a great deal of credit for his moxy and discussing his personal situation and continuing as a driving advocate for improvement in this field.
I want to thank the Chair and the Ranking Member. I would also like to thank Mr. Vassar for the courteous way that he engaged me to participate. I want to thank very specifically Congressman Chris Van Hollen for his support in me being here today. This is not the kind of thing whereI've thought about it; I would have fought my way to get this chamber today.
You're hitting on issues that touch a major nerve of public policy in this country, and while you deal with important public policy issues every day, it is doubtful that since 1973, any public policy issue has so touched every last community in the United States than has criminal justice and incarceration. So I think you are right smack in the middle of a major issue, and I commend you very, very much for engaging it.
Don Murray is also here today from NACO, and Don has been their senior criminal justice legislative mentor, really, for years and started working with me 28 years ago, when I became a warden for the first time in Bucks County, and I owe Don a great deal for keeping me focused and teaching me a great deal about the county aspect of this entire problem.
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This is great legislation. This is not just average legislation. And I noted this morning that Members from California and Massachusetts noted this was an issue, a time we're able to engage something that has gone untouched for far too long, and it's reasonable, and it's bipartisan, and it doesn't focus on liberal versus conservative or harsh versus soft. They're going home, all right? Whatever got them there, they're going home, and it's measurable, so we should have some idea of whether we're showing some success in diminishing the potential for people to come back to incarceration. That alone makes this a problem certainly worthy of our attention.
A national voice is needed. This morning, it was very appropriately suggested maybe the States should deal with this. Maybe the local jurisdictions should deal with this. But every single community in America has seen vastly expanded incarceration, which means in terms of this legislation, a vast increase in the number of people going home to every district, every Congressional district, every State district, every neighborhood in this county, in this country, so it's certainly worthy of a national voice.
It's also appropriate that a national exposure be given to the issue, because it's going to require significant engagement, collaborative engagements of a vast array of organizations, and I think the Federal Government bears not only a special responsibility but a special ability to bring people together who are not used to talking, may have to be herded into the same room to begin this discussion to diminish the potential for return to correctional institutions.
I want to devote some time, as I have in my testimony that I ask be made part of the record, on counties. And I will try to be very short and very direct on this. Almost all of the discussion has centered on States. We all commend the President for mentioning 600,000 prisoners returning home in the State of the Union speech in 2004, that really got this ball rolling.
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But the fact is it's not 600,000. It's 10,600,000. Counties must be added to the equation, and I'm not here as an apologist for the counties or simply to put the county agenda before the Committee; it's real: 3,320 jails in this country return between 7 and 10 million prisoners a year to local jurisdictions. This is serious business. And the counties need to be brought to the table.
This legislation, thanks to the efforts of people like Richard Hurtling from the Justice Department and others who have seen the county relevance, all right, have brought us to the table. So I would ask the Committee in its discussions to continue to represent the counties, and again, not 650,000; 10,650,000.
And it isn't all violent crime impacting public safety. Many of us have read, for example, the broken windows approach in New York, where minor crime, quote, minor, misdemeanor crime, drives public safety enormously in this country. Almost all domestic violence offenses are misdemeanors. They're handled at the county level. So people who smack their wives around and are going home often directly back into that same home are county based, and counties need to be considered and need to be urged, directed, cajoled, pushed, to address this whole issue of offender reentry, because the potential impact is enormous.
I actually believe that this legislation could have the same impact of the Juvenile Justice Act of 1975, that radically changed how we look at youth ending up in adult correctional institutions. While the dollar figure is modest, the public policy, the philosophical implications behind it are enormous, all right? That you're there, we can argue about how you got there and the whys and the lengths of sentences, but you're going home, and there, I think we have a chance to do something of enormous significance.
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Mr. FEENEY. Mr. Wallenstein, we can tell your passions and capabilities and experience would allow you to go on for quite some time. Would you wrap up, because we want to get into questions.
Mr. WALLENSTEIN. Correct.
I would like to invite the Committee and its Members to come to Montgomery County at any time of your choice, see what we do on the floor, so you can see these issues in operation, and I urge you again: stay with us on this issue and don't let it slip. You've discovered something significant.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Wallenstein follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ARTHUR WALLENSTEIN
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Mr. FEENEY. Thank you very much for your testimony.
And Ms. Shapiro, again, thank you for coming today.
Ms. SHAPIRO. Thank you.
Mr. FEENEY. And you're recognized for 5 minutes.
TESTIMONY OF CAROL SHAPIRO, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, FAMILY JUSTICE
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Ms. SHAPIRO. Thank you very much, Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, it really is a privilege. Like my colleagues here, I'm equally passionate and enthusiastic about this bill. My testimony, I hope, will reflect shifting the lens to think about the impact on families. It goes to the county issue, the State issue, and the Federal.
I'd like to take you to Rikers Island, where I was about 10 years ago, little longer, and introduce you to Mrs. Rodriguez. She came because there was a graduation at the boot camp. Her son Jose, was graduating, and she talked to me. She said, you know, when Jose comes home, he steals from me. I take care of his children. He's been in and out of drug treatment. But I love Jose, and I'm proud of Jose.
And this light bulb flickered to think okay, what about the families? What kinds of supports can we do? What can we be doing to improve the outcomes for drug treatment or people struggling with mental illness? And I think the importance of this bill, which as others have stated, has, you know, broad bipartisan support does a few things that get to some of the complexitiesyou just have to think about your own familiesof some of the issues that people coming home from jail and prison are facing.
One, I think this bill really will enhance State and local reentry programs by rewarding partnerships, by really focusing on accountable types of partnerships, not just for the person coming home, but looking at issues of child support, housing, the confluence of those issues. Secondly, I think it inspires some cost-effective strategies to address recidivism, you know, the Jose that was going in and out of jail and prison and reentry challenges for family members by looking at measuring very concretely outcome measures tied to, you know, whatever the intervention is doing.
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And thirdly, I really think a way that this bill enhances public safety is by looking at the context in which people are coming home from jail or prison. You can see that Ms. Rodriguez, and there are many Ms. Rodriguezes in the country, want to do well by their children. I think this bill is a really important step for hope to their families, but it also recognizes that the sheer numbers, the 2 million children affected, there's also caregivers. Many caregivers step up to the plate when someone is arrested, whether it's short time for a jail sentence or longer time from prison.
Here's why I think it's important we consider families: one is they are a natural resource that can be tapped into, and they're existing. They're there. They don't cost a lot of money. Think about your own families. Families are alsothe families that we're talking about are also connected to multiple governmental systems such as TANF, such as housing, such as welfare, such as, you know, a variety of things.
But they're also connected to informal social networks, be it faith community, be it clinics, be it AA. Secondly, families want their sons and daughters, their loved ones, to succeed. They don't want them going in and out of jail and prison. Families are also there 24 hours, and families are there when Government leaves.
The Urban Institute study suggests that most people do go home to their families, and most were living with their families after getting out and getting financial support. At our direct storefront in New York, La Bodega de la Familia, we tested the notion of improving drug treatment just by supporting families. For some, outpatient drug treatment is wonderful; for others, longer term residential treatment is really needed. How we match the treatment, how we think about the family, the kids, the seniors that are affected makes a difference whether somebody stays in treatment or leaves treatment.
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We found that we were able to reduce drug use from 80 to 42 percent just after 6 months of coming home from prison, but equally significant is family well-being improved. Housing was stabilized. Employment was stabilized. Kids were staying in school. Those are family measures which I think this bill is really supporting.
I think there are examples, creative examples around the country where partnerships between public housing and supportive housing are actually working with the local fabric of communities. I think there are a number of States where there is leadership saying we have to use science, we have to measure, and we have to look at outcomes that are not just related to someone coming home from prison such as recidivism but looking at all the family indicators.
We have developed and tested some of these initiatives with a number of Federal and State and local partners, and in closing, I just want to say that this Second Chance Act is for the many Mrs. Rodriguezes in this country, but it's also for the many Joses, and the idea of doing both together, I think, is really exemplary.
Thank you for the opportunity.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Shapiro follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CAROL SHAPIRO
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Mr. FEENEY. Thank you very much, Ms. Shapiro.
And now, we are going to commence a series of questions of the panelists. I am going to start and take 5 minutes. Mr. Hagy, first to you in terms of what the Justice Department has done so far under SVORI, obviously, as each individual needs a slightly different tailored approach, because some have families, some have support groups, some have peer pressure that's going to be very challenging to overcome if they go back to their communities. Just like each individual needs a tailored approach, there are some 30 different experiments that you have underway.
You've talked about some of the common, the three common things with respect to each of these approaches, but what you have you found about the differences, and what, if anything, are your statistics on recidivism showing at this point?
Mr. HAGY. The way the program is set up is obviously, we give a lot of flexibility to each State to set up their program based on the needs that they know probably better than we do on the individual basis. What we're finding is that they're each trying something different or focusing on something a little bit different.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We're seeing, like, for instance, we talked about the importance of family and how important that was; if you look in Mississippi, they're having the families come into the pre-release and talk to the prisoners and discuss things with them and have them to start moving back out into the post-release stage and working with them there. Maine uses videoteleconferencing if the families are at a distance, to work with those families so that when they are released, they can connect better with those families.
A lot of programs are using faith based post-release counseling and mentoring, one-on-one mentoring. I think about 54 percent of the programs are using some kind of that. So each State is doing something just a little bit different and focusing a little bit different area on how they are approaching the problem.
Mr. FEENEY. And are you evaluating the relative successes?
Mr. HAGY. Yes, and the national portrait just came out, and I think the way they're evaluating it through the Research Triangle Institute is a great way of doing it. The way they started was the national portrait of the SVORI program, which really was descriptive, going out saying all right, who's set up? How are they setting up? And then, it has a profile of the States and what they're doing, some of those being described as I do now.
They are in the early stages; obviously, it's going to be over a period of time where we evaluate this program. I was reading something last night: the first 12 months, obviously, a lot of the recidivism occurs in that, so what you are going to see now is a lot of that, but as we go on in the second and the third and the fourth year, some say up to 7 years to evaluate these programs, but we're looking at a 4-year time frame, we will be better able to say what is working and what is not.
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The great thing about it is on this Website, I think, that I mentioned, they are releasing reports and studies about the effectiveness of parts of that program as we go along which are publicly available. So, you don't have to wait for the 4 years. The best results will come 4 years down the road when we have time to look at people, but right now, we looked at one study on faith-based programs; again, the national portrait described them. The faith-based study talks about what faith-based institutions are doing. There's a juvenile report that was just released. So we're releasing that information as we go along to inform you and our constituents on how that's working as we go along.
Mr. FEENEY. Has the Justice Department taken a position on Mr. Nolan's suggestion that there's no sense to a policy that will not allow a mentor to have contact with a prisoner once released?
Mr. HAGY. He said he was working with the Bureau of Prisons. I will have to check with them on that and where they are in their decision making process. I don't know if any final decision has been
Mr. FEENEY. Well, maybe I'll ask Mr. Nolan, then, again, thank you for your testimony. And you talked about the importance of mentoring, and is there any reason given at all for why contact with the mentor after release is a problem?
Mr. NOLAN. First, I forgot to ask thatI have a full written statement, if that could be incorporated into the record.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FEENEY. All of the written statements will be entered into the record.
Mr. NOLAN. The reason I'm given, and this is true in many States; it's not just the Federal Bureau of Prisons, is that somehow the inmates might pull the wool over the eyes or take advantage of that mentor outside, and that's always the risk. And that's why training is important.
On the other hand, what it does is sacrifice the ability of a healthy, good relationship that started in prison from continuing. It cuts them off from the person other than the family, and Carol has done such a good job describing the importance of healing families and
Mr. FEENEY. Well, Mr. Nolan, do a lot of these mentors have some training before they go into prisons?
Mr. NOLAN. Absolutely. We recruit them. We match them specifically with that prisoner, and we train them. And I don't know of any instancethere probably have been someof an inmate taking advantage. You've got to understand, too, it's more work for the prison to keep track of it, but public safety should trump institutional convenience.
And it's really important that we remember that prisons don't exist for their own sake. They exist to keep us safer. And if their policies inhibit keeping us safer, we ought to change the policies. The Bureau of Prisons says they're reviewing it, but they're slow. With the money in this bill going out to mentoring programs, those relationships should start in prison.
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I brought up one of our mentees and his mentor to meet with several of the Members, and Mark Souder asked him well, what would happen if you hadn't had this relationship while you were in prison? And David said I would have seen this funny little man in a bow tie with a fedora hat, and what angle does he have? Why is he interested in me? And blown right past him, because he stood between me and freedom.
He said it was only because Jim came faithfully every week for over a year to see him, to work with him, to work on a life plan, to tell him what it mean to be a good employee, how to heal relationships with his family, to work on all those issues. David said it was probably three or 4 months before he began to take Jim seriously, because he always kept thinking, well, what's his angle? What's he trying to get up on me?
David had been so abused by so many people in his life that he wasn't able to trust anybody. And it was only that love of week after week, just showing up, just being there, caring about him that broke down that barrier and had David say this person really does care about me so that he could stay with him when he got out.
Now, to show the other side of the relationship, Jim, a wonderful guy, retired Quaker Oats executive, said I told David if he goes back, they better have two beds, because I'm in for attempted murder. [Laughter.]
But there's wisdom in that, because he's holding David accountable. He's not only there to help him, but he's saying David, you've got to keep your nose clean.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FEENEY. Well, thank you.
My time has expired. The gentleman from Virginia is recognized.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you. Mr. Nolan, just following up on that in terms of the contact after prison, that's for all volunteers, not just
Mr. NOLAN. Right, it's not just religious. It's all volunteers are prohibited from that. Now, 95 percent of volunteers in prison are religious, but yes, it applies across the board to all volunteers.
Mr. SCOTT. And these are volunteers.
Mr. NOLAN. Correct.
Mr. SCOTT. So we don't get into who's paying what money to who.
Mr. NOLAN. Right, right.
Mr. SCOTT. Okay; Mr. Hagy, SVORI, do you have a study on which programs work and which do not work?
Mr. HAGY. Well, and that's what I'm talking about, that longitudinal study. We have some descriptive stuff now, the first national portrait that came out. We really haven't had time to complete a study. Most of these programs that were basically funded in 2002 and 2003, didn't really ramp up immediately. In fact, I think the last study, about 75 percent of the programs, this just came out, are actually fully functioning with the rest on some kind of variation of that. So we don't have it; we have some good anecdotal evidence of, again, some of the family reentry using the faith-based and what they're actually doing, but the effectiveness will come along as we move along.
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Mr. SCOTT. Well, based on the information and studies that you have, is it fair to say that education helps reduce recidivism?
Mr. HAGY. Yes, a lot of the different programs are using education within the pre-release programs to prepare them to leave. Again, I think that's an important part of it and using the mentoring after they leave.
Mr. SCOTT. Now, along those lines, would it be helpful to fund college education for prisoners, or would it be more helpful to deny them college education?
Mr. HAGY. I can't speak to that issue. I have no evidence one way or the other on that one at this point from the Department on this issue.
Mr. SCOTT. You don't know whether helping people get a college education would be helpful or not?
Mr. HAGY. I mean, that is a priority for Congress, but obviously, how they fund that, but obviously, a college education does help you get a job afterin any case helps you be more employable. But, how that's funded and what a priority that is for Congress, I can't speak to.
Mr. SCOTT. Well, I'm not talking about priorities. I'm just saying if your goal is to reduce crime, helping prisoners get a college education would be helpful if your goal is to reduce crime.
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Mr. HAGY. I can agree that education does improve your opportunities.
Mr. SCOTT. Okay; what about employment opportunities in prison? Would that be helpful to reducing recidivism?
Mr. HAGY. I do know they start talking about that in the pre-release stage, and obviously, on the post-release stage
Mr. SCOTT. I'm talking about jobs in prison, like the Prison Industries program. Has that been studied?
Mr. HAGY. I think there are some Federal programs, the UNICOR program that seems to have done a pretty good job at doing some job training.
Mr. SCOTT. And UNICOR participants have a lower incidence of recidivism.
Mr. HAGY. That is being shown.
Mr. SCOTT. Okay; Ms. Shapiro, you're working with families; many of the prisoners have children within their families.
Ms. SHAPIRO. That is correct.
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Mr. SCOTT. Have you found that to be a high risk group for future criminal activity?
Ms. SHAPIRO. Well, the research suggests there is a very high correlation, so the answer is yes. And it's why I think it's important, and I think this bill recognizes how you do successful transition home that includes interventions for children and helping kids stay in school and helping their father or mother get the drug treatment they need so that it stabilizes the family. I think it is very intertwined. And many families have more than one person involved in the criminal justice system, not only children at high risk.
Mr. SCOTT. And has intervention with the children been able to reduce the likelihood that they may get in trouble?
Ms. SHAPIRO. I can't speak to the full research on this. I think it has been very promising. There are studies, for example, from some of the drug courts where for women, I know, who have had children, the kids have remained drug free and healthier for a long period of time. And it's relatively new in this field to actually look at somebody, and to see the family as the unit of analysis and measure outcomes for others in that household.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
And Mr. Wallenstein, you indicated that it's not 600,000 but 10 million. One of the problems with funding programs for those in jail is that they're there often for a short period of time. So by the time they're processed in and processed out, you don't really have a lot of time. Are you suggesting that there is an opportunity here to reduce recidivism for those even though you may have them for a short period of time?
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Mr. WALLENSTEIN. There is a dramatic opportunity to diminish recidivism. First of all, jail sentences can be for up to 18 months and in a few States even longer. But take the smaller group of 12 months. You can engage people in very short periods of time. In fact, our whole treatment, substance abuse treatment system in this country is based on increasingly short periods of time.
Remember, what works, we have to challenge traditional ways of looking at programs, so if you're going to prepare someone to go out to work, there are work force development factors that the one-stops have done dramatic work with all across this country: role-playing with people, rehearsing them, practicing with them, real world applications; you don't need years. In fact, I would argue years can be counterproductive. Months can be very valuable, because what you teach and what we teach in Montgomery County on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, you may practice out on the streets the following Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, because we won't let you sit. Get out there and get a job. The counties have got to be involved in this because of the size and scope of this population.
Mr. SCOTT. And how can we help them get a job after they get out?
Mr. WALLENSTEIN. The one-stop movement in this country to me is one of the most valuable undertakings. Department of Labor has implemented it through grants to States. One-stops exist in almost every county in America. Insisting, I mean, dramatically insisting what are you doing to help the local criminal justice population should be part of the guidelines to every work force board and every one-stop in the United States.
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You can use volunteers, faith community individuals, get them thinking about a job and get the work force to intervene inside of the jails. We're opening a one-stop center inside the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Clarksburg, Maryland. It's a new step forward. We welcome you to come and take a look. It's a work in progress. Use every hour of the day that we have these people.
Mr. FEENEY. Thank you very much. The gentleman's time has expired.
Without objection, we'd like to give Mr. Van Hollen, who is not a Member of the Committee, 5 minutes to engage in questions.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you all for your testimony. Mr. Nolan, thank you for sharing your experiences and what you've done as a result and are doing as a result of those experiences. You point out in your testimony the number of people who go into prison with substance abuse problems, almost 75 percent according to your testimony that very few of them, maybe one-fifth of those people get any substance abuse treatment while they're in prison.
I mean, do we have pilot programs? I mean, I know Mr. Hagy suggested that we're waiting for these longitudinal studies. There must have been, must have been lots of pilot programs out there that have been done at the various levels to see what works and doesn't work with respect to substance abuse, because common sense will tell you someone goes into prison and has substance abuse and doesn't get treated and comes out with substance abuse problems, you know, you haven't really gotten anywhere.
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Mr. NOLAN. Right, what have we accomplished?
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. So what works? What doesn't work? Tell us about some models you know of.
Mr. NOLAN. Well, first of all, a great resource on this is CASA at Columbia University, Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse; I think that's the title. Joe Califano heads it up, former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. There are plenty of studies that show what works. There are some great faith-based programs, one called Celebrate Recovery, which is part of, you know, thean overall transformation of the person. They have a great success rate.
But the key thing is doing nothing is so irresponsible. To lock somebody up for 5 years, 10 years, 15 years with an addiction problem but do nothing about the underlying addiction and then release them back on the street, you know, it's a fraud on the public, and it's a fraud on them. We've done nothing about the underlying problems, and we've released somebody who is very likely to commit another crime, so create more victims as well.
And to show how the bureaucracy plays okey-doke, I appeared before the Virginia Reentry Commission, and I talked about this. And a representative of one of the Virginia programs said, well, I want to reassure the members of the Commission that every Virginia prison has drug treatment programs. Well, that's technically correct. Every one does. It's just not available for most of their prisoners. Only a tiny percentage get it. But here she is telling the legislators, oh, everyyou know, and only if you knew that only a few were getting it would you realize she's essentially misleading that committee.
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And we've got to decide if we're spending all this money, more than a Harvard education, to lock somebody up, shouldn't we do something to change their heart and their habits to leave them better than when they came in? I would also say we need to look at even sending somebody with a drug abuse problem to prison. Prisons are for people we're afraid of. It's essentially a quarantine. It's segregating them from us so we can live safely.
We've filled them with a lot of people that we're mad at, and then, we do nothing about the reason that we're mad at them. And they come out, do it again, and we're still mad at them.
And one last thing: as a legislator, I said, well, at least they don't have access to drugs while they're in prison. Wrong. There were more drugs available to me in prison than there were when I was in college, and most of them didn't come in through the visitation room. They came in in the guards' lunchpails in return for money and sex and everything else.
That's the reality of prison life. Chuck and I have said, Chuck Colson and I, we went to bed every night with the smell of marijuana in the air every night. There were plenty of drugs available in prison. So the idea that as a legislator that somehow, well, at least they're abstaining from drugs while they're in prison is just not true.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Thank you, Mr. Nolan.
And on that point, I was in the Maryland State Legislature and asked the same questions and got the response, which is that there are these drugs in prison. I am still confounded by the fact that we can't do more about it. I realize the difficulties, and I realize the current reality, but I also believe that we can do more to change that reality, and drug abuse programs should be part of that. But we also, to the extent that there is all this corruption going on, which is always what you hear about, we should be able to do more about that as well.
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Mr. Wallenstein, if you could comment on that.
Mr. WALLENSTEIN. The vast number of correctional officers in this country are totally and completely honest and wouldn't condone drugs in their prison for a second, as I know Pat would support.
Mr. NOLAN. Yes.
Mr. WALLENSTEIN. The few that are there and do it should be prosecuted and put in the prison. It's a very, very small amount.
The issue is we must engage, but it needs to be done intelligently. And I think the Committee can help. Not a dime of Federal money should go to any program that doesn't present an evaluation and research template, not 2 years after you funded them but prior to any monies flowing. And groups like NIJ and BJS, who are excellent, should help develop the right questions to be asked and the methodologies to be used to measure up front, so we go into the programs with an idea of how we can gauge our success.
Mr. FEENEY. The gentleman's time has expired.
We have time for part of another round if you're interested. Mr. Hagy, is that what we're doing in terms of requiring a template, what Mr. Wallenstein just suggested with SVORI?
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAGY. Again, it's a little bit broader than that, but we do provide the pre-release evaluation. That's one of the things that we're looking at is that you have to evaluate the person and then carry them through the entire process. So yes, there is an evaluation of each prisoner's situation and what they need to make them more successful, whether it be drugs or other issues.
Mr. FEENEY. Well, I misunderstood. I thought what Mr. Wallenstein was saying, and correct me if I'm wrong, Mr. Wallenstein, is that there has got to be some demonstration that the process has some positive results before the process gets any Federal funding. Is that basically what you were telling us?
Mr. WALLENSTEIN. Correct.
Mr. HAGY. Yes, and then, I think I can speak to your sort of issue as well as these longitudinal studies. What we're studying with the SVORI program is the compilation of these programs and how do they work over time. Obviously, in any program, any facility, any State, some of those drug treatment programs may be very, very successful; others are not. In fact, one of the questions I ask our evaluators was when you do come out with a SVORI program, and you tell me 4 years down the road it's working, how do you isolate whether it was the individual programs for that prison or that facility or it was actually the combination of the efforts?
So the longitudinal studies actually speaks to the combination of efforts and are we doing a good job at making them coordinate all those efforts and focus on the many different problems that may confront a prisoner. And again, in each one of those, there are successes. We have the RSAT program that has proven to be very successful, residential substance abuse program, and our drug courts. So we have seen programs individually that work. It's the analysis of the SVORI as a combination we're going to try to look at.
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Mr. FEENEY. Okay; and because I've got to be done by 1:30, the gentlelady from Texas is recognized.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I'll ask unanimous consent to put my statement in the record.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Jackson Lee follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE SHEILA JACKSON LEE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS, AND MEMBER, SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME, TERRORISM, AND HOMELAND SECURITY
Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member, today's legislative hearing was of extreme importance, and this oversight hearing is just as important. The Second Chance Act, H.R. 1704, responds to the fact that, for example, in 2003, over 2,000,000 people were incarcerated in Federal or State prisons or in local jails. During 2003, more than 650,000 people were released from State and Federal prisons to communities nationwide. This nation is in desperate need of high quality and well-thought-out programs for the reentry of criminal offenders.
One of my great concerns over the years has been the need for legislation to facilitate the early release of nonviolent offenders, and today's hearings go hand in hand with that principle. My legislation, the ''Federal Good Time Release for Non-Violent Offenders Act,'' or the ''Federal Prison Bureau Nonviolent Offender Relief Act of 2005,'' H.R. 256, provides for the release of federal prisoners who have served one-half or more of their term of imprisonment if that individual has attained the age of forty-five (45) years and has never been convicted of a crime of violence.
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Passage of this legislation will confer both economic and social benefitsjust as would the Second Chance Act. Some of those who are incarcerated face excessive sentences, and my provisions would mitigate this problem. Non-violent offenders can provide important community service to the public, reduce taxpayer burdens, and restore a sense of self-worth, accomplishment, and duty to these persons.
The number of federal inmates has grown from just over 24,000 in 1980 to 173,739 in 2004. The cost to incarcerate these individuals has risen from $330 million to $4.6 billion since 2004. At a time when tight budgets have forced many states to consider the early release of hundreds of inmates to conserve tax revenue and when our nation's Social Security system is in danger of being totally privatized, early release is a common-sense option to raise capital.
The rate of incarceration and the length of sentence for first-time, non-violent offenders have become excessive. Over the past two decades, no area of state government expenditures has increased as rapidly as prisons and jails. Justice Department data released on March 15, 1999 show that the number of prisoners in America has more than tripled over the last two decades from 500,000 to 1.8 million, with states like California and Texas experiencing eightfold prison population increases during that time. America's overall prison population now exceeds the combined populations of Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
Over one million people have been warehoused for nonviolent, often petty crimes. In addition, the European Union, a political entity of 370 million, has a prison population, including violent and nonviolent offenders, of roughly 300,000. This is one third the number of prisoners which America, a country of 274 million, has incarcerated for only nonviolent offenses.
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The 1,185,458 nonviolent offenders we currently lock up represents five times the number of people held in India's entire prison system, even though it is a country with roughly four times our population.
As the number of individuals incarcerated for nonviolent offenses has steadily risen, African-Americans and Latinos have comprised a growing percentage of the overall number incarcerated.
In the 1930s, 75% of the people entering state and federal prison were white (roughly reflecting the demographics of the nation). Today, minority communities represent 70% of all new admissionsand more than half of all Americans behind bars.
The Nonviolent Offender Relief Act of 2005 would address these disparities and the detrimental impacts that are caused by keeping nonviolent offenders behind bars. I will work with the Gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Portman, and my colleagues Mr. Davis of Illinois, Ms. Tubbs-Jones of Ohio, as well as the Gentlemen from Indiana, Ohio, and UtahMessrs. Souder, Steve, and Cannon respectively to explore the possibility of incorporating my provisions with those of the Second Chance Actof course after making appropriate changes to make H.R. 256 apply to the states.
In addition, I would like to recognize the hard work that the Gentleman from Michigan, our distinguished Ranking Member John Conyers, has done in introducing his ''Rebuild Lives and Families Re-Entry Enhancement Act of 2005''legislation of which I am an original co-sponsor. His proposal seeks to re-authorize adult and juvenile offender State and local reentry demonstration projects that are already public law. This proposal really makes sense and requires much less by way of legislative draftsmanship to implement. Furthermore, that bill contains very substantive provisions that will remove some of the barriers to re-entry. I will work with that Gentleman to combine our legislative efforts as well.
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I hope that as we move the Second Chance Actwith the enhancements to be offered by the Ranking Member and me, forward toward the House floor so that this critical issue can be expeditiously addressed. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Ranking Member, and I yield back.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you, gentlemen. It's good to see you, Mr. Hagy.
Simply, I want to acknowledge that this is a very instructive bill and one that's overdue. I think there is sentiment on both sides of the aisle as well as in the House and the Senate. A number of Senators have spoken about the issue dealing with Second Chance, and I visited a number of Federal prisons, including the Federal prison in Beaumont, low, medium, and maximum security as well as the prisons in California, some of the most stark conditions; some of them are Federal prisons.
But my question would be if you could, just for my edification, emphasize the value that you would see or could see in tying this legislation to what we call good time release. What does that mean? We have over the years done an excellent job with the numbers of crime coming down, and I think we can attribute that to the past Administration continuing with Attorneys General that have been consistent on the issue of crime and communities have appreciated.
Although this bill ties itself to State programs and faith based groups working locally, let me ask you this: about the numbers of individuals languishing in prison, nonviolent, have had a record of 10, 15, 20 years of good time, meaning well behaved, having the opportunity tied to this bill, meaning that they would be released to a program, and that means that they would be released before the time that was set, because under these sentencings that are enormous, be released to programs like this, so it's called good time; the concept is good time, early release. You are a prisoner, and there's also the factor of maybe age. Maybe they would be 40, 45 years old, people who have been in 20 years.
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I would likehopefully, these are gentlemen who believe this bill has some merit and ladies. How would you view that issue?
Mr. HAGY. I'll go first and then maybe let our issueshow that works. Obviously, there is some idea that these people have good behavior. I don't see anything in our legislation that prevents someone from taking advantage of our programs; again, I can't speak to the Department's policy. Obviously, that is an idea that's come up, and I can take that back to our leg team and see how they feel about it.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I would appreciate it.
Mr. HAGY. I will certainly do that for you.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Ms. Shapiro?
Ms. SHAPIRO. Well, obviously, anything that will get people out of prison into a structured support system is preferable than, you know, maintaining their lives in prison, again, because it affects their whole network and whole neighborhoods.
I think the challenge is always for the seamlessness, and as much as there may be great drug treatment, for example, or programming in prisons, what's the connective tissue when they're coming home? And how do we really think about programming that is conscious of that at the time? And I think the supports we give at the community level is also recognizing that purpose. The research suggests the more people are watched when they're coming back from jail or prison, the more they go back to jail and prison for technical violations.
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So I think the truth in what we want to accomplish can happen with this bill, particularly if we are building an accountability for the individual but also measurement for some of the other indicators that I think are so critical for healthy families and healthy neighborhoods.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. And so, with this kind of infrastructure in place, if we can move this along in a bipartisan manner, the terminology I'm using, because maybe the microphone, early release. So what I am suggesting is that you would have early release of individuals who have documented evident good time, meaning they have been models, good behavior, whatever positions, you know, whatever they are because of their behavior, because of also their age
Ms. SHAPIRO. Right.
Ms. JACKSON LEE.that they could be released; they still have some work life in them, and they could be released to theseand so, you would get early release before the traditional time, because if you take statistical analysis, you have beds loaded up in both State and Federal prisons with individuals who really are nonviolentagain, I say that; their crime was nonviolent, and who are able to come out into this system.
Is that something that you could see being a good, as you said, seam that would lead itself into a positive return?
Ms. SHAPIRO. Well, I can't speak to the particular State or local systems and how that might work institutionally. I don't know if my colleagues can do
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Ms. JACKSON LEE. But you can speak, is that something that would be a good fit into a structure?
Ms. SHAPIRO. Absolutely, particularly as you think about case management and how it flows from an institutional setting to a community setting, yes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Nolan.
Mr. NOLAN. Yes, we definitely need something like that. As a legislator, I supported abolition of parole. I wasn't thinking, because
Mr. SCOTT. You supported or opposed?
Mr. NOLAN. I supported it, and it was a mistake. And the reason that it was a mistake was that it took away all incentive to be involved in any programming that bettered themselves. And I have a perfect example: within the Federal Bureau of Prisons right now, if you serve out your time, you have no tail. You finish your time; you walk out the gate
Ms. JACKSON LEE. And no support.
Mr. NOLAN.with no restrictions and no support, exactly.
On the other hand, and I know guys that turn down halfway houses because it's stricter, it's more accountable. They have more choices, more options, but they're also held accountable for it. They didn't want that. They just beat the clock. They'd serve their time watching TV, lying in the rack, and then walk out the gate a free man; literally, in their terminology, cutting their tail.
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It is more important to introduce to men and women inside choices, options, give them an incentive for preparing themselves, coming up with a plan, work with them on the support systems that Carol talked about. And right now, that isn't done in most cases.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. And if I may, and thank you, that means whatever we call it, but if we did the early release, which is not necessarily parole; it means that you look at a category of personalities, you look that they've been good time for this period, and you say you know what? You're out, but you put that seam, and therefore
Mr. NOLAN. There's got to be that follow-through.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Income producers but out and take those beds away from all that we're paying for people who are just sitting there.
Mr. FEENEY. The gentlelady's time has expired. Mr. Nolan, you can answer that, and then, we're going to have five more minutes
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. NOLAN. Parole did it the wrong way. They just said, okay, who's the next few to get out; we'll let them loose. No preparation.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Right.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NOLAN. Opened the gate, pushed them out. That's the wrong early release. Instead, you do it intelligently. You prepare them and say you, we've given you responsibility; you've shown you can handle it. You have a life plan. You're going out, and here's the support system to help you make it. That's the right way to do early release.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you to the Ranking Member and the Chairman. Thank you very much.
Mr. FEENEY. Thank you.
And I'm going to recognize the Ranking Member for 5 minutes. He can either use it; he can yield it; or he can lose it. That will be his discretion. He can have the last 5 minutes.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Nolan, are you aware of any studies that would suggest that simply lengthening the time that someone is incarcerated without anything else, no education, no job training, you just lengthen the time, that that would reduce recidivism?
Mr. NOLAN. No; on the contrary, I think experience has shown the opposite. Mr. Wallenstein alluded to this. Sometimes, doing more time actually makesinstitutionalizes someone, makes them less able to make choices. Let me just give you an example personally. For 2 years, I was locked up. That's not a long time compared to a lot of folks in prison.
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I got out and went to the halfway house. A bunch of my buddies took me to the Eighth Street Deli near the Capitol in Sacramento. We sat there, and they all ordered. The waiter was there. And I looked at the menu, and I looked at it, and I knew what I was supposed to do, but I was paralyzed. I couldn't choose what to eat. For 2 years, I hadn't chosen what I ate. And here I was unable to do that.
Finally, out of embarrassment, my eyes lighted on a turkey sandwich, and I ordered it. I didn't want a turkey sandwich. But I didn't want this long, agonizing moment when I couldn't make a decision to go on. Now, think of somebody who didn't have my education, my faith, my family, my position of responsibility. Think of them: they get off the bus in the middle of the night, and they've got to choose where they're going to sleep that night, where they're going to eat the next day, how do they get a job? How do they get to a job interview; all those decisions stretching before them.
The longer they're institutionalizedagain, I'd only been locked up 2 years, and I couldn't order from a menu. Think of all those options. They go from a position where every minute of their day is accounted for. They're told what to do, when to get up, who they're with, where they go, what they can do, and then, we're told, okay, you're free. Make all these choices. And the longer you're locked up, the less chance you have of being able to make intelligent choices, because you've been deprived of that, unless there is some transition, unless there is some support group for you, helping you, walking with you, thinking those things through.
Mr. SCOTT. And a parole system helps that? I think I'd heard from your testimony that someone developing, having an incentive to put a parole plan together so that they convince the parole board that they're ready; they've got somewhere to go, something to do; they've gotten some education, and they've got an incentive to do that, because they've got to convince the parole board before they can get out that that makes more sense than ready or not, here I come.
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Mr. WALLENSTEIN. Right, far more.
Mr. SCOTT. I yield the balance of my time to the Gentleman from Maryland.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I thank my colleague, and again, thank the Chairman and the Ranking Member, Mr. Scott, for allowing me to participate here.
Mr. Wallenstein, the core of your testimony was don't forget about the guys in the county jails, because there are 10 million of those individuals. Is there a correlation between the people who have gone to jail and gone to prison? In other words, of the 650,000 people in prison, do most of them begin at some point or another in the county jails? And is that, therefore, an opportunity to get to them earlier? Is there not much of a correlation? Or is that data just not available?
Mr. WALLENSTEIN. No, it's there. It's a perfect correlation. Almost no one goes directly to a State prison. And even in serious offenses, there will be county jail time spent. The time is enormously productive, because it's right there in the community; the community based groups are there. That's why this legislation is so important, because as you push the collaborative potential between community based organizations, intergovernmental cooperation, and work at the local level, it isn't taking a bus, a train, or a plane. It's walking down the street. And the potential has not even begun to be tapped, which is really why I was pushing the county agenda so hard, because not only is it numerical in size and scope; it's right there in front of us.
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Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Good. If there are any statistics, because I think you make a very good point; if there are any statistics showing that all the individuals, the 650,000 people we're talking about ending up in State and Federal prisons have earlier served time in local jails, any data you've got on that, because I think your point is a very good one: if you can catch people early and provide them the resources in the community and divert them out of, you know, the prison system at that point, it obviously would be money and time well spent.
Mr. WALLENSTEIN. The person in this country on this issue is Alan Beck, the chief of correctional statistics within the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the U.S. Department of Justice. He is respected from one end of the country to the other. If you engage Alan on this issue, there is no better person in the country.
Mr. WALLENSTEIN. Thank you.
Mr. HAGY. And I think that was some of our significance on the Prisoner Reentry Initiative on the nonviolent offenders: get there before it become a bigger and bigger problem.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Thank you very much, Mr. Scott.
Mr. FEENEY. The gentleman yields back, and thank you, Mr. Van Hollen and Mr. Scott. We want to thank all of our witnesses for your testimony. The Subcommittee very much appreciates your contribution. All of it will be part of the record. In order to assure a full record and adequate consideration for this important issue, the record will be left open for additional submissions for 7 days. Also, any written question a Member wants to submit should be submitted within the same 7-day period.
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This concludes the oversight hearing on ''Offender Reentry: What is Needed to Provide Offenders with a Real Second Chance?'' Again, thank you for your cooperation. The Subcommittee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:28 p.m., the Subcommittee adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
LETTER TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE FROM BILL HANSELL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES (NACO), AND BEVERLY O'NEILL, PRESIDENT, THE UNITEED STATES CONFERENCE OF MAYORS (USCM)
LETTER TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE FROM CALVIN BASS, PRESIDENT, AND KEVIN STOUT, VICE PRESIDENT, LIFER'S GROUP, INC.
SAMPLE QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY CHARLIE SULLIVAN, CO-DIRECTOR, CITIZENS UNITED FOR REHABILITATION OF ERRANTS (C.U.R.E.)
REVISED PREPARED STATEMENT OF ARTHUR WALLENSTEIN, DIRECTOR, MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION & REHABILITATION
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