WH Lists Prisoner Re-Entry Programs as Budget Priority—for Black Families Only

Melanie Hunter, CNS News, October 16, 2012

The White House’s fiscal year 2013 budget includes $831 million for Department of Justice prisoner re-entry programs, which are designed to help inmates who have been released from prison find a job and to reduce recidivism rate.

Take a look at the Obama White House’s Office of Management and Budget, and you’ll find the program is mentioned under the fact sheet on key issues titled, “An Economy Built to Last and Security for African American Families.”

However, there is no mention of prisoner re-entry programs under any other header—not under the fact sheet on middle class familiesLatino familiesAsian-American families, or giving a hand up to low-income families.

The program began in 2004 under the George W. Bush administration as a way to help ex-prisoners by linking them with faith-based and community institutions to help them find work.

According to an archived version of the Bush White House website page, $25 million was originally allocated to the program, which was jointly funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Department of Justice, and various private organizations.

Fast-forward to the Obama administration, and the program has ballooned to $831 million, including $80 million for grant assistance under the Second Chance Act, which Bush signed into law on April 9, 2008.

The Second Chance Act “authorizes federal grants to government agencies and nonprofit organizations to provide employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, housing, family programming, mentoring, victims support, and other services that can help reduce recidivism.”

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