Reentry of Prisoners to the Community

Reentry refers to the use of various programs directed at the successful reintegration of released inmates into the society. Reentry programs help offenders by providing them with skills useful to the community, thus making them productive and law-abiding citizens. In the United States, corrections facilities and different organizations work together to provide newly released inmates with programs such as work programs, vocational training, and drug rehabilitation (Van Benschoten Bennett, 1970, p. 12). Reentry programs in the United States have improved significantly over the past few years.

Today, reentry courts help prisoners more extensively by promoting accountability of offenders. They also provide services and treatment during the whole process of reentry to make the reintegration of former inmates more successful (Van Benschoten Bennett, 1970, p. 12). The US Department of Justice (DOJ) together with the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and other government institutions espoused the Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) to address public concerns over newly released high-risk adult and juvenile offenders.

The Prisoner Reentry Initiative provides funding to enhance, implement, develop, and assess strategies for reentry, ensuring the safety of the community and reducing recidivism. The goals of the initiative are achieved by preparing offenders to return to their respective communities after they have served a significant period of time in a correctional facility, training school, or another institution (Van Benschoten Bennett, 1970, p. 12). The Office of Justice Programs and Bureau of Justice Assistance (OJP/BJA) works together administer PRI grants. The initiative has two stages and uses different programs to make reentry successful.

The first phase consists of programs that prepare inmates to reenter society. Services in this phase include: risk assessment, job training, treatment of substance abuse and mental conditions, and education. The second phase of the PRI involves programs that are designed to help individuals that are still currently in the corrections system or are already in the community. Community organizations and providers of social service work together in this phase to provide continuous service to freed inmates and to counsel them all throughout the reentry process (Whitfield, et. al. , 1991, p. 5).