The recommendations from the state task force on ex-offender reintegration represent a big step toward safer communities and second chances for North Carolinians, observers say.
For two years, the NC legislature’s Joint Select Committee on Ex-Offender Reintegration into Society has debated how best to address the problems of recidivism and the reintegration of ex-offenders into society.
The group has offered up a broad array of policy recommendations, focusing on two important areas: reducing barriers to employment and moving toward providing organized services with evidence-based standards.
“These recommendations will help ensure safe communities, save public dollars and change peoples’ lives,” said Bill Rowe, director of advocacy with the NC Justice Center.
Reducing barriers to employment can assist offenders with community integration and avoiding further criminal conduct. Law enforcement professionals, service providers, non-profit groups and advocates have all spoken about the importance of employment to ex-offender re-integration.
“Giving people second chances builds a safer North Carolina,” said Rowe. “Helping ex-offenders find productive More than 622,400 traffic, criminal citations issued during 2010 N.C. highway safety campaigns work isn’t just cost-effective, it’s in everyone’s best interests.”
Taken as a whole, improving access to services and preventing automatic denial of employment opportunities for former offenders would improve community safety.
If implemented, experts say, the committee’s recommendations could reduce costs to the taxpayer while allowing exoffenders to lead more productive lives.