Brookings-AEI Working Group on Criminal Justice Reform

A better path forward for criminal justice: Prisoner reentry

Over 640,000 people return to our communities from prison each year. However, due to the lack of institutional support, statutorily imposed legal barriers, stigmas, and low wages, most prison sentences are for life—especially for residents of Black and Brown communities. More than half of the formerly incarcerated are unable to find stable employment within their first year of return and three-fourths of them are rearrested within three years of release. Research has demonstrated that health, housing, skill development, mentorship, social networks, and the collaborative efforts of public and private organizations collectively improve the reentry experience.