ATLANTA - The United States Department of Justice has designated the week of April 24, 2016 as ‘National Reentry Week’. The purpose of this week is to bring awareness and attention to the challenges and difficulties faced by men and women returning to society following incarceration. The week also serves as a time for correctional, parole/probation and reentry agencies to focus on educating the public and encouraging community involvement in the reentry and reintegration processes.
DCS Assistant Commissioner Scott Maurer says this week is essential to establishing and promoting support for the work of reentry.
“Reentry is everyone’s business. As a department, we are working diligently and tirelessly to collaborate and coordinate with other government agencies and private community stakeholders to build a comprehensive reentry network that will reach every corner of the state,” said Maurer. “It is our responsibility to provide individuals under our care with the tools they need to lead productive lives in their communities during supervision and beyond. This means we are continuously seeking to identify resources and options to help them be successful on their path to reentry,” added Maurer.
In Georgia there are over 53,000 individuals incarcerated in the state’s prison system and an additional 35,000 in the county jails. In 2015, the Georgia Department of Corrections released approximately 18,000 inmates from their facilities. The majority of these individuals returned to communities within Georgia.
DCS Deputy Director of Reentry Services Jay Sanders says his unit is committed to doing their part to move the reentry conversation and work forward.
“We are working to eliminate gaps in services and remove barriers in the areas of employment, housing and education. Our unit is working within DCS and other state agencies to review policies and procedures to ensure returning citizens have every possible advantage upon release,” said Sanders. “By participating in local events and reentry panels, we are educating the public regarding the challenges facing those individuals released from prison and encouraging them to assist in local reentry efforts,” added Sanders.
‘Reentry Week’ is a national initiative with community forums and events being held in every state. It is through these events that information and resources can be shared with returning citizens and their family members and where they can also be connected to local, state and federal resource providers who can help with the reentry process.