by Kevin W. Bliss
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (“BJA”), created by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), announced on October 5, 2022, that it was awarding over $100 million in grant money to programs geared toward recidivism reduction and the successful reentry of juveniles and adults into society after a period of incarceration.
The DOJ also partnered with the Department of Education to ensure the renewed implementation of the Pell Grant, available to prisoners to increase educational opportunities while incarcerated.
The DOJ is now a member of the interagency Alternatives and Reentry Committee (“The Committee”) created by President Biden’s Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices Executive Order to develop evidence-based reform plans for federal, state, local, and Tribal communities for recidivism reduction and successful reentry.
The year 2020 saw the release of over 500,000 people from state and federal prisons alone. Jails and detention centers accounted for millions more. One study estimated 36,000 juveniles were poised for release from residential placement on any given day.
The Committee is now awarding grants to agencies and organizations to cater to the needs of people in prisons and jails or to assist those recently released with reentry, education, employment, support, and supervision. Funds will be allocated to provide prisoners with protection from sexual assault and to assist incarcerated parents with their minor children.
“The safety of our communities greatly depends on the educational, employment, treatment and other opportunities we afford to all who come into contact with the justice system,” said BJA Director Karhlton Moore. “We are pleased to make these resources available to our state, local and Tribal partners so that they can continue the vital work of welcoming recently incarcerated individuals back into society and providing them the tools they need to succeed.”
The Committee announced it is awarding $16.5 million to expand the reentry programs of community-based nonprofit organizations that demonstrate a strong partnership with corrections, parole, and probation services; $23.3 million to improve correctional education and employment programs; $5 million to implement evidence-based reentry programs and housing assistance; $3.9 million to develop new applications of the Swift, Certain, and Fair Supervision Program; $6.4 million to the Smart Reentry and Supervision: Grants, Tools, and Technical Assistance to Facilitate Change initiative; $8.5 million to improve clinical services and address treatment needs of people in prison with mental health or substance abuse problems; $2 million to establish a Community Supervision Resource Center assisting with adult and juvenile probation, parole, and pretrial supervision; $1 million to assist Tribal communities in offering alternative sentencing opportunities, rehabilitation needs, and victim-centered supervision programs; $2.1 million to assist in prevention and detection of sexual assault in incarceration facilities; $12.2 million to the Second Chance Act Youth Reentry Program; and $5.9 million to aid incarcerated individuals with minor children.
The Committee stated its goal is to provide more leadership, funding, training, and technical support to improve the nation’s capacity for crime prevention, recidivism reduction, promotion of racial equality within the criminal justice system, and victim assistance while maintaining integrity of the law.
Sources: U.S. Department of Justice - Office of Public Affairs
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