The Vera Institute of Justice recently identified the criminal justice trends found in legislation enacted in 2013, including support of the reentry of offenders into the community.
The nonprofit organization also identified the reduction of prison populations and costs, the expansion or strengthening of community-based sanctions, the implementation of risk and needs assessments and making better informed criminal justice policy as key trends in 2013 legislation.
According to the report, approximately 581,000 men and women were released from state custody into their communities in 2012, needing, in many cases, housing, employment, education and assistance with family reunification and behavioral health issues.
As acknowledged by the Vera Institute, supporting the transition from prison or jail back into the community is critical to reducing the risk of recidivism and improving public safety.
The report lists several states which passed laws relating to the support of offender reentry, including mandating more in-prison support, developing reentry programming and expanding options for sealing or expunging criminal records.
A dozen states—including California and North Carolina, where GEO Reentry Services partners with state and local correctional agencies—passed laws aimed at improving the likelihood of success for those leaving prison, creating new reentry programs for in-custody participants and post-release participants.
Reentry programs, like the programs managed by GEO Reentry that are founded on evidence-based practices, help offenders to reintegrate into society by giving participants the tools to becoming productive members of their communities.
GEO Reentry day reporting centers and in-custody treatment programs target changing criminal behavior through behavioral therapy programs and teach participants the necessary life skills to gain employment or continue their education. Certain centers also provide substance abuse treatment.