As reported in the National Reentry Resource Center’s Newsletter, Attorney General Eric Holder convened the inaugural meeting of the Interagency Reentry Council last week. “Attending the Cabinet-level meeting were the secretaries of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, and the Interior; as well as the heads of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Social Security Administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the White House Domestic Policy Council, and the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships”.
Interestingly, last week, the likes of Newt Gringrich and Pat Nolan, right wing conservatives, were making their positions known in a Op-ED piece in the Washington Post, favoring prison reform and reentry strategies not necessarily unlike, those of the Interagency Reentry Council. As discussed here in the past, there is a confluence of interest across the nation (and around the world) favoring prison reform. Unfortunately it is not a movement always born of concern for the prisoners and their needs, but one focused on the cost of keeping prisons open and keeping prisoners in prison (when recidivism remains above 50% within three years of release).
Nevermind. It matters little how we got here, but what we’re able to do to further the agenda of real prison reform, focusing on getting the prisoner back to the community where rehabilitation is possible and where reintegration into the community is a critical necessity. Pay close attention to how the politicians work this issue and make sure that the interests of the prisoner and the community are not lost in translation.