Today, the White House honors twelve Champions of Change who are helping children of incarcerated parents and their caregivers. These heroes work every day to help families affected by incarceration.
The courageous work of these Champions of Change is complemented in government by an interagency group committed to identifying and eliminating legal obstacles faced by people reentering society after incarceration. This group, the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, was convened by the Attorney General 2 years ago and seeks to reduce barriers to jobs, housing, and education, with a special emphasis on the needs of veterans and women as they rejoin society after involvement with the criminal justice system.
The Council’s record includes:
- Training and collaboration. The National Institute of Corrections funded intensive technical assistance in six states for the Transition from Jail to Community Initiative, which advances collaboration between jails and communities to enhance public safety, reduce recidivism, and improve reintegration processes.
- Employment and legal aid. The Department of Labor and the Department of Justice issued grants for employment and to help pay for legal assistance for such actions as securing drivers’ licenses and expunging criminal records.
- A focus on veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is piloting the Veterans Reentry Search Service, a web-based system to allow court, jail, and prison staff identify veterans among their inmate or defendant populations—an important step toward linking justice-involved veterans with VA substance use, mental health, and other clinical services.
- Support for women. The Department of Labor funded grants to provide employment and support services to justice-involved females using a comprehensive care management strategy. The grants are now active in nine locations, with seven sites serving adults and two serving youth.
In conjunction with today’s Champions of Change event, the Reentry Council has published a new online resource to explain the Council’s work, outline its accomplishments, and share its plans for the future. To learn more about the Reentry Council, please visit this page. To view and join the conversation about today's Champions of Change, use the hashtag #WHChamps.