77th Annual Meeting

PREVENTING AND ENDING HOMELESSNESS OF EX-OFFENDERS THROUGH EXPANSION OF THE SECOND CHANCE ACT PRISONER REENTRY INITIATIVE

WHEREAS, each year more than 650,000 inmates are released from Federal and State prisons and return to their communities and families, and

WHEREAS, state spending on corrections has increased from $10.6 billion in 1987 to $44 Billion in 2007, thereby limiting state and local expenditures in other important budget areas; and

WHEREAS, a number of states and localities are experiencing budget shortfalls and are decreasing investments in the state and local correctional systems by reducing the populations in their prisons and jails through early release of inmates; and

WHEREAS, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), almost three out of five inmates returning to society will be charged with new crimes within three years of their release from prison and two out of five will be re-incarcerated; and

WHEREAS, unemployment among ex-prisoners has been estimated at between 25 and 40 percent and studies also show that joblessness among ex-prisoners has been broadly linked to recidivism rates; and

WHEREAS, studies show 15% to 25% of prisoners are discharged out of the back doors of prisons and jails into the front doors of homeless programs without supports or services, increasing homelessness with few resources to respond; and

WHEREAS, the Second Chance Act Prisoner Rentry Initiative seeks to build upon the innovative and successful state reentry programs, including the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative which provided $139 million in funding for State governments to develop and implement education, job training, mental health treatment, and substance abuse treatment for serious and violent offenders; and

WHEREAS, the Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) is yielding cost savings of over $31 million per year; and

WHEREAS, the Second Chance Act Prisoner Reentry Initiative assists states and local government entities in partnership with nonprofit organizations to establish prisoner reentry demonstration projects that will aid in preventing recidivism and homelessness by providing: education, vocational training, job placement, and housing that is permanent, affordable and linked to health, mental health, employment, and other support services that provide long-term, community-based housing options; and

WHEREAS, jurisdictionally led, community based 10 Year Plans to End Chronic Homelessness, encouraged by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, would be assisted in implementation by offering strategies and resources emphasizing the roles for every level of government and community stakeholders in developing Second Chance Act Prisoner Reentry Initiative alternatives to expensive police/court interventions and prisoner release into homelessness,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors endorses the increased funding for the Second Chance Act by $75 million which is included in the President's proposed 2010 budget to expand the safe and successful reintegration into the community of individuals who have been incarcerated, including veterans, and supports programs geared toward the rapid re-housing of ex-offenders.