February 11, 2015

Senate Introduces Legislation to Ease Reentry Process for Returning Citizens

Today, the Senate introduced legislation that could help ease the reentry process for the formerly incarcerated. Mass incarceration is a hunger issue. For many returning citizens, the prospect of integrating themselves back into their communities is daunting, leading some to fall into poverty.

The Corrections Oversight, Recidivism Reduction, and Elimination Costs for Taxpayers in Our National System (Corrections) Act aims to reduce the prison population and offer a better integration process for returning citizens through the use of existing programs such as recidivism reduction, risk-based time credits, and drug treatment and mental health services.

“We agree with the senators that when inmates are better prepared to re-enter communities, they are less likely to commit crimes after they are released. This is an important step in addressing the mass incarceration problem that perpetuates cycle of hunger and poverty,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.

The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and John Cornyn (R-TX), would allow for certain low-risk offenders with exemplary behavior to spend the end of their earned-time credit under community supervision. Other provisions encourage those in prison to participate in recidivism reduction programs and other activities, like prison jobs, which can lead to the awarding of earned credit.

Still, many states still enforce life-time bans on non-violent drug offenders for safety-net programs, such as SNAP, (formerly food stamps) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), programs that are vital to many returning citizens as they look for work and try to rebuild their lives. Part of Bread’s work includes getting these bans lifted and ensuring people who qualify for these vital programs have access to them.

“While this bill is a good step, Congress must also address the larger issue of sentencing reform,” Beckmann said. “In addition to ensuring that prisoners have access to the skills they need to properly re-enter society, we must reexamine lengthy and inflexible mandatory sentences imposed on low-level, non-violent offenders, and implement alternatives to imprisonment where appropriate.”

The federal prison population has increased from approximately 25,000 in 1980 to nearly 216,000 today.

“African Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately incarcerated and tend to receive longer sentences than white defendants convicted of the same crime. A reform of our prison system must be guided by our moral obligation to truly give those who want a second chance an opportunity to succeed.” Beckmann added.

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.

    Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

  • Bread Newsletter January 2016

    In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.
     

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.

    ...

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.

Field

Changing Climate, Changing Farmers

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Insight

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