National Reentry Resource Center FAQ's on Families Involved in Criminal Justice System

on Tuesday - September 04, 2012.

A new set of questions and answers about families and communities involved in the criminal justice system has been published by the National Reentry Resource Center.

Among their findings:

* an estimated 1.7 million children in the US have a parent in prison

* at least 50% of all incarcerated persons in the US have children at home who are under the age of 18

The NRRC also highlights research that shows reduced risk of recidivism for people who maintain healthy contact with their families during their incarceration.

In addition, maintaining strong relationships with family while incarcerated and after release can also result in better outcomes in finding a job after release.

Because of the evidence of better outcomes for those who maintain strong family connections, the NRRC suggests that reentry initiatives address "community and family engagement of people reentering communities through comprehensive reentry planning and coordinating transitional services."

The NRRC FAQ "describes current research, challenges to reentry and family reunification, and best practices for improving reentry outcomes, including examples of effective programs and policies that support successful reentry. The FAQ is meant to be a "living" document that will be updated as new information becomes available."

See: Frequently Asked Questions about Communities and Families Involved with the Criminal Justice System

Resources for Returning Citizens and Their Families

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Tuesday - August 28, 2012.

The Lancaster County RMO is pleased to offer these resources for returning citizens and their families, as well as for professionals and others who work with them:

Self Sufficiency Reference Guide: a guide to social service agencies, supportive services, free community meals, and other resources that can be helpful to individuals and families in the areas of housing, transportation, financial matters, parenting, health care, mental health, food, clothing, employment, education and other areas. Published in partnership with United Way of Lancaster County

How to Explain Jails and Prisons to Children: A Caregivers Guide - this guide provides tips for caregivers and parents to answer children's questions about having a parent in prison or jail, how to support the child and the incarcerated parent, tips for visitation and letter writing between parent and child, and other essential information to support families through this difficult situation. Published in partnership with Children of Incarcerated Parents Network of Lancaster County.

Job Search Checklist: a guide to the essential steps involved in searching for employment, especially for those who may have little to no prior employment experience. Produced by the Employment Action Team of the Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness.

Job Search Checklist - Forms of Identification Required for Employment: Exhibit 1 of the Job Search Checklist


Criminal Records, Hiring Decisions and "Redemption"

on Tuesday - June 12, 2012.

In the age of widely available electronic data and Internet background checks, it can be challenging for an employer to know what data is accurate and whether someone's criminal past represents a current risk.  The new EEOC ruling on hiring and employment practices related to criminal records will require employers to think more critically about what data they use and how they use it when it comes to criminal records.  

Recent research by one of the most prominent criminologists in the United States, Alfred Blumstein, Ph.D., may help employers concerned about hiring people with criminal records to make more informed decisions about when someone with a record may be considered no longer a risk, based on how long ago their criminal activity occurred. 

Reentry "Mythbusters" from Federal Interagency Reentry Council

on Friday - June 01, 2012.

The Federal Interagency Reentry Council is a collaborative network of 20 federal agencies working to "make communities safer by reducing recidivism and victimization; assist those who return from prison and jail in becoming productive citizens; and save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration." 

The group was first established in January 2011, and is chaired by Attorney General Eric Holder.

One of the group's first efforts was to assemble a set of "Reentry Mythbusters", described as:

"fact sheets, designed to clarify existing federal policies that affect formerly incarcerated individuals and their families in areas such as public housing, access to benefits, parental rights, employer incentives, Medicaid suspension/termination, and more."

The full set of "Reentry Mythbusters" is available HERE.