New bill aims to reduce recidivism rates with expanded resources

Introduced by bipartisan lawmakers this week, the One Stop Shop Community Reentry Program Act aims to tackle recidivism rates in the US. According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the rate of crime after leaving prison, also known as a recidivism rate, is 49.3 percent during the eight-year period after release. This new bill hopes to bring that number down with expanded access to housing, medical care, job searches, and legal services.

A big factor in recidivism is that previously incarcerated individuals often have a difficult time securing housing and work after release. Without a place to live or a steady income, many feel they have no choice but to return to crime. Fortunately, research shows that with adequate access to services and resources, inmate recidivism rates drop significantly. 

The bill was previously passed by the House and introduced to the Senate last December but did not pass. Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Cornyn hope that new bipartisan support for the bill will help it gain momentum. Specifically, the bill would offer grants to established reentry centers to help the previously incarcerated with skills like job applications, job training, obtaining a driver’s license, and filling out college and student loan applications. Centers would also offer access to medical, mental health, and financial counseling services. 

Klobuchar told NPR, “This bipartisan legislation would help reduce the chance that people transitioning from incarceration will re-offend by creating resource centers to coordinate access to job training, medical and mental health services, and financial counseling.”

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