RE-THINKING, RE-SHAPING, & RE-EVALUATING RE-ENTRY

By Brother Bey , Fraternal Order of X-Offenders | November 1, 2008

Executive SummaryThe United States has the highest prison population rate in the world with more than 700 per 100,000 people who are incarcerated on any given day. The Psychology and Sociology of Race to IncarcerationThe war on crime and drugs has lead to the institutionalization of racism by defining crime and drug problems as a war on people, primarily poor people, black people and other minorities. FOXO’s research of the U.S. Department of Justice in 2002 indicates that nationally the race to incarceration is evident. America’s incarceration rate per ethnic group is as follows: • America incarcerates 649 white males per 100,000 which is much lower than the national average of more than 700 per 100,000 as• America incarcerates 68 white women per 100,000 which is also much lower than the national average of more than 700 per 100,000. • In contrast, America incarcerates 8,410 black males per 100,000 which is 12 times the national rate of more than the national average of 700 per 100,000 while• America incarcerates 349 Black women per 100,000. On a national level, Blacks make up only 12 to 13% of the population. Based upon the statistics presented from 2002, we know that the pathologies in our communities are not getting better, but worse. One study indicates that more Black men, ages 20-29, are under the control of the nation’s criminal justice system than the total number of Black men, of the same group, who are enrolled in college. Also, one in three Black men in the ages of 20-29 is under correction supervision. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics stated in the early 2000 that the chances of going to prison was highest among black males 32.2% and Hispanic males 17.2% and lowest among white males 5.9%. The life time chances of going to prison among black females is 5.6%, Hispanic Females 2.2% and white females 0.9% have a much lower chance of going to prison.Locally in the state of Maryland, Blacks are only 28% of the population and more than 70% of those who are arrested are for drug related offenses and more than 90% of those who are convicted for drugs or drug related offenses. The racial consequences in Baltimore’s Criminal Justice System is as follows:Study by the National Center for Institutional Alternative indicated that on any given day in Baltimore City more than 50% of African American males between the ages of 18-35 years old are under the control of the criminal justice system such as on probation or parole, waiting to go to court, or being sought on an outstanding warrant or currently serving time.Washington, DCThe same study indicated that in Washington, DC that 44% of African American males between the same age group of 18-35 are under the control of the criminal justice system such as on probation or parole, waiting to go to court, or being sought on an outstanding warrant or currently serving time.Accordingly, the aforementioned information suggests that the country that holds itself as the land of freedom, incarcerates a high percentage of its people than any country on the planet earth. The exploding prison population is a manifestation of disparate minority incarceration that reflects selective incorporation of public safety versus public policy. The origins of this unjust policy begins between 1980 and 1993 . Both the Reagan and Bush Administrations cut funding for employment and training by more than 50%; while, correctional spending increased by 521%. Prison Spending increased from $6 billion to $150 billion. However the number of prisons increased from 500,000 in 1980 to more than 2 million by the year 2001, which is a 400% increase of prison incarceration.The disparate imprisonment of blacks nationally is part of a larger crisis of over incarceration in the United States which reflects the war on drugs on poor people especially Black Americans. The typical data of the census track indicates that in Maryland, Black residents are 28% of the residential population. However, the same data indicates that the Black incarceration rate is nearly 73%. Although the U.S. lead all industrialized nation with its incarceration rate , too many of the ordinary citizenry do not understand that more than 90 percent of incarcerated persons, at some point of time will be released. The question is what national or local mechanisms are in place to enhance the capacity that these newly, released ex-offenders will be properly prepared to become respectable, acceptable, productive law-abiding citizens to minimize recidivism? Based upon our own experience as the Fraternal Order of X-Offenders, we believe that everyone is entitled to a second chance. In summary, FOXO’s research indicates that H-R-623, Second Chance Act of 2007 intent is recidivism reduction and to authorize $165 million dollars over the next 2 years to support the rap around services for this dis-engaged, at-risk population. The Second Chance Act was introduced in Congress as a bill to assist recent releasees who are in need of housing, medical attention, substance abuse treatment, education, employment and rebuilding family and community foundation. The Second Chance Act has allocated $80 million in grants. The H-R- 623 bill includes elements of the prison re-entry initiative which was launched in 2004 to connect ex-offenders with faith based and community initiatives. The Second Chance Acts also includes authorizations for:• Funding – $55 million per year to assist state and local government demonstration projects to promote successful re-entry of ex-offenders• Design, development and implementation of new programs – provide comprehensive access to re-entry services including cognitive restructuring and peer mediation. • Grants given to non-profit organizations – totals up to $20 million annually regarding transitional services, former inmate recruiting, employment preparation, etc.In closing, effective October 8, 2008, the comprehensive approach to looking at a needs assessment will not only help ex- offenders, but the service providers will also be able to better provide services with the capacity for the potential enhanced quality of life for the new releasee. All the above will modify the traditional criminal justice paradigm which is the executive branch of federal government in partnership with the federal legislative branch of government and in collaboration with the faith based and community organizations. TRAININGFOXO travels nationwide to present at conferences and workshops, and conduct trainings for a variety of public and private organizations and agencies. Training for all stakeholders including foundations, churches, community organizations, etc. can be provided. To view more information about FOXO’s activities, enter Fraternal Order of X-Offenders on the google.com search engine. For more info call 410-262-4456