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Charting a New Justice Reinvestment

By Nicole D. Porter, The Sentencing Project

For more than forty years, the correctional system has been dominated by growth. In 1969, the crime rate was 3,680 per 100,000 population and the incarceration rate was 97 state and federal prisoners per 100,000 population. Today the crime rate is slightly lower at 3,667 per 100,000 population but the incarceration rate is five times higher, at 492 per 100,000. The culture of punishment, in part driven by political expediency with “tough-on-crime” policies marketed as the solution to “fear of crime,” has been aggressively implemented at every stage of the criminal justice process: arresting, charging, sentencing, confining, releasing and supervising.

Today, there is general agreement that this vast expansion of the criminal justice system and the seven million people currently under U.S. correctional control did not occur by accident, but as the result of deliberate policy choices that impose intentionally punitive sentences that have increased both the numbers of people entering the system and how long they remain there.

The destructive effects of mass incarceration are visited disproportionately upon individuals and communities of color. Justice Reinvestment was conceived as part of the solution to this problem. Justice Reinvestment originated as an ambitious strategy to reduce reliance on incarceration and repair the harm to individuals and communities through reinvestment in neighborhoods with high concentrations of residents in the criminal justice system.

The initial purpose of Justice Reinvestment was to make state government accountable to impoverished communities – mostly (though not exclusively) black and Latino – where the burden of punishment and incarceration has been the heaviest. These already disadvantaged neighborhoods were being driven deeper into perpetual economic divestment, social isolation, political disenfranchisement and physical distress by the coercive, downward mobility caused by locally concentrated pockets of incarceration and the forced migration of residents to and from prison. The intent was to reduce corrections populations and budgets, thereby generating savings for the purpose of reinvesting in high incarceration communities to make them safer, stronger, more prosperous and equitable.

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The Center For Returning Citizens

CONTACT:

Mr. J. Jondhi Harrell

Executive Director

The Center for Returning Citizens Mr. J. Jondhi Harrell / Photo courtesy philly.com

Telephone: (215) 305-8793

E-Mail: [email protected]

THE CENTER FOR RETURNING CITIZENS TAPPED FOR LEADERSHIP ROLE FOR 2013 INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY

PHILADELPHIA, PA (USA) – 12 August 2013 – Each year approximately 35,000 individuals who have been incarcerated in federal, state, and local correctional facilities return to their families and neighborhoods in the City of Philadelphia – the fifth largest metropolitan area in the United States. For these Men and Women, who are often referred to as “Returning Citizens,” the journey of redemption and reintegration is arduous and challenging. The Center for Returning Citizens (“TCRC”) is the brainchild of Mr. J. Jondhi Harrell, a Thought Leader on social justice and the successful reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals into society. Mr. Harrell serves as the organization’s Executive Director. Under his leadership, the organization offers a myriad of services which comprehensively and effectively addresses the unique issues of formerly incarcerated individuals. A global model for healing and repatriation for formerly incarcerated individuals, TCRC has been selected to assume a leadership role for 2013 International Men’s Day for Returning Citizens and individuals and organizations that provide resources and support services to them throughout the City of Philadelphia.

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