Re-Entry: Past, Present, and Future
The question "have you ever been convicted of a felony?" is listed on nearly every employment application in the United States. For the nearly one in three American adults with a criminal record, this question all too often means the door to that particular employer is closed. Without access to viable job training and employment opportunities, many find themselves returning to prison, beginning a vicious cycle of recidivism that can perpetuate in families for generations.
In Ohio, there's been a concerted effort reduce recidivism. In 2015, Ohio Senator Rob Portman and Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy introduced a bill to reauthorize the Second Chance Act which supports re-entry programs. And there are several programs in Northeast Ohio that are making strides in obtaining job training and employment for formerly incarcerated individuals.
Local leaders discuss the past, present, and future of re-entry programs and how we, as a society, can ensure that everyone who wants to work, can work.
Damian Calvert, former participant, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry's Friend-to-Friend program; Research Assistant, Case Western Reserve University's Social Justice Institute
Brandon Chrostowski, Chief Executive Officer, EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute
Ernie Drain, Graduate, EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute
Charles R. See, Executive Director, Community Re-Entry, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry
The conversation is moderated by The Plain Dealer reporter Rachel Dissell.