By Jim Kouri
On Thursday, the Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Attorney General Eric Holder announced the availability of approximately $12 million in grants to female ex-convicts to help them make the transition from correctional facilities back to their communities.
The programs funded through the grant announcement will help make this difficult transition smoother and more productive, resulting in more stable families and brighter futures for murderers, rapists, robbers, drug dealers and others incarcerated for their crimes..
According to Solis and Holder, the grantees must provide the ex-convicts with services such as job training that will lead to former prisoners obtaining credentials in high-demand industries, employment preparation, mentoring services and other benefits.
The Justice Department, through the Second Chance Act, has awarded grants to more than 370 organizations across the country to provide a range of services that can help reduce recidivism, including substance abuse treatment, family programming, and mentoring.
Helping to reintegrate formerly incarcerated individuals is a priority for the Obama Administration, according to the Attorney General.
“We’re backing up [this program] with a government-wide effort supported by the Federal Interagency Reentry Council. With strong leadership from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor, the council brings together 20 federal agencies to develop plans to make communities safer, to assist individuals returning to communities from prison or jail in becoming productive taxpaying citizens, and to save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration,” said Holder.
On the incentives side, the DOL offers both tax credits and federal bonding protection for employers who hire people with a criminal record.
“As part of this initiative, last summer we hosted a roundtable at the Labor Department focused on strategies for securing suitable employment opportunities for the formerly incarcerated. Today’s grant announcement is one of the many ways in which we are taking action to fulfill the goals of that meeting,” Secretary Solis stated.
“Among the core promises of America’s justice system is the notion that those who serve their time deserve a second chance to make a positive contribution to American society. In realizing this promise, it’s essential to ensure that returning citizens are given the opportunity to make an honest living and become productive members of their communities, Holder added.
But not everyone is celebrating this latest Obama spending spree. Some detractors claim that crime victims could benefit from programs earmarked for them.
“Some crime victims continue to suffer from physical and psychological damage inflicted on them by the very people Holder and Solis insist on helping. This is your typical liberal bleeding-heart program that will ultimately fail and waste millions of dollars,” claims former police detective and corrections officer Thomas Speros.