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Cuomo to address re-entry and reintegration of formerly incarcerated

Stephon Johnson | 7/24/2014, 2:50 p.m.

Formerly incarcerated New Yorkers have a hard time upon re-entry into society. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is looking to tackle that problem head-on.

Last week, Cuomo announced the formation of the New York State Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration. The council will address obstacles that formerly incarcerated people face when they re-enter society and collaborate with state, local and private agencies and community groups to address issues newly freed people face after serving time, including housing, employment, health care, education, behavior change and veterans’ services.

“We have made great progress toward creating a safer state over the past few years. Our prisons have fewer people in them and crime is down, but we must do more to stop the revolving door of recidivism once and for all,” said Cuomo in a statement. “Reducing the state’s recidivism rate will mean safer communities, stronger families and fewer taxpayer dollars spent on prisons. This Re-Entry Council will strengthen the support that we provide to formerly incarcerated individuals as they transition back into mainstream society and help ensure that those transitions are lasting and effective.”

Members of the Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration include Rossana Rosado of John Jay College of Criminal Justice as the board of trustees member (chair); Alphonso David, the deputy secretary and counsel for civil rights for the governor’s office; Anthony Thompson, a professor at New York University School of Law; Elizabeth Glazer, the director of the New York City Office of Criminal Justice; and Thomas Abt, the deputy secretary for public safety for the governor’s office.

According to the Re-Entry Council, their goals include identifying barriers to successful re-entry in New York by examining state laws, regulations and administrative policies pertaining to the formerly incarcerated; soliciting feedback from stakeholders regarding potential policies, laws and practices that could improve outcomes for the formerly incarcerated; assessing existing programs for effectiveness and identifying evidence-based best practices in support of positive outcomes; and developing coordination strategies between state, local, private and community-based groups in support of successful re-entry for the formerly incarcerated.

According to the governor’s office, the council will submit recommendations for review and potential implementation, with Marta Nelson, the executive director for the New York City Office of the Center for Employment Opportunities, serving as the executive director of the council. Alexander Rose will serve as special assistant to the council.