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Holding Offenders Accountable: Why Reentry Matters

NCJ Number
Prosecutor Volume: 40 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2006 Pages: 32-34,36,37
Kamala Harris
Date Published
May 2006
5 pages
This article describes the work of the San Francisco Reentry Council, a coalition of multiple agencies that has created and coordinated ex-inmate reentry programs that have the core elements of accountability, opportunity, and family.
The San Francisco District Attorney's Office led the creation of the Council, which is composed of representatives from law enforcement, workforce development, city government, business, labor, education, health services, community-based organizations, and the religious community. The overall goal of the Council is to recruit and manage community resources so as to integrate ex-inmates with their families and neighborhoods as crime-free, responsible citizens and parents. Although each program developed by the Council is designed for a distinct offender population, all programs have the core elements of accountability, opportunity, and family. Program participants are held accountable for their conduct while participating in reentry programs; however, they are helped to avoid reoffending or violating parole conditions by giving them opportunities for employment, education, health care, and housing. The Council also focuses on helping ex-inmates to be responsible parents by reunifying ex-inmates with their children and insisting on strict compliance with child-support orders and other parental responsibilities. The Council features three reentry programs: The Women's Reentry Center, the Young Men's Reentry Program, and Back on Track. The Women's Reentry Center focuses on ensuring that women receive appropriate treatment while in jail and that they develop a reentry plan that includes commitment to training, education, employment, and other goals. Upon release, the Center guides their pursuit of the goals of the reentry plan. The Young Men's Reentry Program provides similar programming tailored for 18-21 year-old men. Back on Track targets the custodial and reentry needs of 18-30-year-old first-time, low-level felony narcotics offenders.