The U.S. Conference of Mayors


WHEREAS, approximately 650,000 state and federal prisoners reenter society each year; and

WHEREAS, persons leaving jail or prison often lack not only the most basic necessities, such as food, shelter and clothing, but also job skills, training and placement; transitional housing; and support services, including substance abuse and mental health treatment; and

WHEREAS, about half of all former prisoners are returned to prison for a new crime or parole violation within three years; and

WHEREAS, the social costs of reentry have profound consequences for our communities, including public health risks, homelessness, unemployment and public safety concerns; and

WHEREAS, incarceration and the challenges of reentry have a profound impact on the family members of those who are incarcerated, with children of those in prison at a higher risk of living in poverty; and

WHEREAS, more than two-thirds of the incarcerated population has a high rate of infectious disease, substance abuse and/or mental health disorders; and

WHEREAS, close to 27 percent of prisoners expect to go to homeless shelters upon release from prison, and 16 percent of the local jail population is mentally ill; and

WHEREAS, many former prisoners are denied employment, educational assistance, TANF benefits, subsidized housing, parental rights, health care, driver's licenses, and the right to vote, and barriers to these rights and services often prevent effective reintegration into society,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors supports efforts to more effectively integrate persons leaving jail or prison back into society, including: Providing education to prison inmates; Providing inmates with the necessary skills to become productive citizens upon return to society; o Providing inmates with opportunities to gain the skills to be effective and to have positive influences in the life of their family upon reentry, including their roles as parents; Providing support suited to the particular needs of children of incarcerated individuals to improve their life chances; Allowing individuals returning from prison the option of living in public housing when it is in the best interests of their families and communities; Providing government jobs for re-entering individuals; Providing tax subsidies for businesses that hire returning individuals; Changing employment requirements which prohibit hiring people with criminal records, and providing incentives to hire returning prisoners; Encouraging businesses which contract with the government to hire people with a criminal record, and providing businesses tax credits for bonding them; and Encouraging governments and other employers to consider establishing a special temporary worker category for returning prisoners to make it easier for them to get a first job.

2007 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352