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News Articles of Interest to Ex-Offenders

An article by Lynh Bui that appeared in The Washington Post on July 19, 2014, is about an ex-convict who spent 40 years in prison. While there, he was a model prisoner who earned the respect of inmates and guards. It describes his efforts to adjust to life on the outside after four decades of incarceration.

Read the article: A Second Chance for a Convicted Killer

In 2011, more than 30,500 men and women left Illinois prisons and jails, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections. About half of them are likely to return to prison within three years, further disrupting families and communities.

The Second Chance Act directs money to the Departments of Justice, Labor, and Health and Human Services to fund efforts to fight addiction and provide job training. The act, Davis notes, addresses the challenges faced by those returning to free society.

But the bill has its limitations.

Read the complete article: Second Chance Act Giving Ex-Offenders Hope

Nearly a decade ago, Oakland was a leader in the "Ban the Box" debate to remove the question of felony convictions from job applications.

Oakland banned the box in 2010, and so have more than four dozen cities across the nation as well as seven states, including California. The bans mean these cities and states do not ask prospective public employees about felonies on job applications.

Now if Oakland officials are truly interested in helping attack the problem of crime and violence by creating job opportunities, they should take the next step.

Read more: Jobs for Ex-Offenders, Less Oakland Crime

With only a handful of city programs specifically designed for people on parole or probation, more than 47 percent of ex-offenders released into San Francisco under the state's new AB109 prison realignment effort don't have permanent housing.

But the housing question is one that also involves thousands of low-income residents who have never seen the inside of a jail cell.

It's difficult to give priority for affordable housing to ex-cons over law-abiding citizens looking for a home, said Wendy Still, the city's chief adult probation officer.

Read more: Ex-Offenders Compete for Low-Income Housing.

The Supreme Courtís ruling on Monday [in June 2012] barring mandatory life sentences for juveniles convicted of murder was the sharpest indication to date of a shift in how the American judicial system views young felons ó from irredeemable predators to victims of circumstance with a potential for rehabilitation.

See the complete article: Sentence Ruling Reflects Rethinking on Juvenile Justice

The National Blueprint for Reentry (by the National H.I.R.E. Network in conjunction with the National Reentry Consortium, October 2008) discusses "model policies to promote the successful re-entry of individuals with criminal records through employment and education."

Be sure to read this article, "Running a Business After Doing Time," which was published in the February 22, 2009 issue of The New York Times. It discusses a program that teaches prisons how to start their own businesses after leaving prison - a very pragmatic approach in today's difficult economic times.