Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson, Director of the Office Of Justice Programs (OJP), testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Ms. Robinson has been a champion of innovative communiy-based rehabilitatilon programs, in particular drug courts, during her first stint as Director of OJP during the Clinton Administration. This time around she has championed effective reentry programs and reentry courts. During her testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee, she stressed the importance of fully funding the “Second Chance Act” at its previous year 2010, $100 million level.
Part of her testimony follows, “In FY 2010, Congress appropriated $100 million to continue the Second Chance Act Offender Reentry Initiative in OJP. This funding level represents an increase of $75 million over the FY 2009 appropriation of $25 million. This $100 million also includes $10 million for research, furthering our goals to support evidence-based initiatives. In FY 2011, the President’s Budget request includes $100 million to continue the Second Chance Act Offender Reentry Initiative.
Last week, Attorney General Holder called for a new approach to dealing with criminals and announced the creation of an interagency working group to focus exclusively on reentry issues. The group will focus on everything from mental health and drug treatment, housing, and job training needs as well as policy recommendations and efforts to enhance interagency coordination at the federal level.
To further these efforts throughout the federal government, the President launched a new Transitional Jobs initiative with the Department of Labor for ex-offenders and low-income, noncustodial fathers who face serious barriers to finding work and keeping work. The majority of returning prisoners are parents and strengthening family ties upon release can help returning prisoners successfully reintegrate into society. Through this program, fathers will be helped to develop the skills and experience they need to move into full-time, long-term employment so they can meet their child support obligations and help provide for their families”
For full text of testimony: Asst. AG Laurie Robinson/July 22