What happens to the 688,000 people released from state and federal prison every year? Studies have shown that within 3 years of release approximately 2/3 will likely recidivate. The communities to which the formerly incarcerated return are often impoverished and disenfranchised neighborhoods with few social supports and persistently high crime rates. Lack of social support, housing, employment, and money force returnees to find themselves facing the same pressures and temptations that landed them in prison. Assisting the formerly incarcerated with education, employment, identifying transitional housing, and receiving mentoring are three key elements of successful reentry into our communities. Moreover, the role that public colleges and universities can play in using higher education to promote successful prisoner reentry can potentially have the tertiary benefit of generating safer and more robust communities. Therefore, in working with individuals that are reentering society from correctional institutions as well as other forms of institutionalized environments (mental health, military) it is important for educators to develop a sense of competency that engages this population.



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