According to the Department of Justice, more than 700,000 individuals are released from federal and state prisons, while another 9 million cycle through local jails. With a lack of support, statistics suggest that more than two-thirds of prisoners are rearrested within three years of their release and half of those are re-incarcerated. High rates of recidivism mean more crime, more victims, and more money spent towards the prison system. In 2008, the Second Chance Act was passed with bi-partisan support to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for people returning from state and federal prisons. It provides support to state, local, and non-profit reentry agencies and acts as a catalyst for comprehensive change within the criminal justice system, promoting a combined public health/public safety approach to stop the all-too-common cycle of arrest, incarceration, release, and re-arrest.
In general, reentry programs are designed to assist individuals with a successful transition to their community after they are released. Specifically, post-incarceration reentry efforts focus on assisting in job placement, facilitating access to crime-free and stable housing, and providing other supportive services. The main purpose is to make communities safer, assisting those returning from prison and jail in becoming productive, tax-paying citizens and saving taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration.
Return on Investment
Missouri Department of Corrections estimates that it costs $20,870.00 per year to house 1 inmate. The annual cost for 100 inmates is $2,087,000.00.
If those same individuals were to be working a full time job, earning an average of $10.00 per hour, they would be making a gross income of $21,000.00. Therefore, the estimated annual contribution to the Kansas City economy for 100 individuals is $2,100,000.00.
The bottom line: supportive reentry saves tax payer dollars.