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Bass, Reschenthaler Introduce Legislation To Create “One Stop Shop” Resource Centers For Formerly Incarcerated Individuals

September 4, 2020
Press Release
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressmember Karen Bass (D-CA), Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, and Congressman Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) introduced bipartisan legislation to create resource centers in communities to assist individuals exiting custody and formerly incarcerated individuals.

In some states, a person released from prison is given as little as $10 and a bus ticket. According to a U.S. Sentencing Commission report, the average national recidivism rate for released individuals is 49.3% over 8 years. One of the reasons this rate is so high is because of a lack of access to resources. The purpose of the One Stop Shop Community Reentry Program Act is to create Community Reentry Centers that will reduce the chance of reoffence by making basic resources available to individuals who would otherwise not have access to them.

“The expectation that individuals are successful and won’t reoffend after being given $10 and a bus ticket is absolutely ridiculous,” said Congressmember Bass. “85 percent of incarcerated individuals are eventually released. Our society presents countless obstacles for individuals who have already paid their debts to society: it’s harder for them to find jobs, it’s harder for them to find housing, and it’s harder for them to be able to pay for a quality education. These obstacles without adequate resources make it more likely for people to reoffend. As the majority of people in custody will be released at some point, it is essential that we provide resources for recidivism prevention. The bill we have introduced today fights back against that statistic and helps people get back on their feet and reintegrated into society in a productive way and the hope is that these centers are one day going to be run by returning citizens themselves.” 

“I served as a district judge in southwestern Pennsylvania, where I saw firsthand the revolving door to prison and the struggles faced by those attempting to rebuild their lives after incarceration,” said Congressman Reschenthaler. “I am proud to join Chairwoman Bass to introduce the One Stop Shop Community Reentry Program Act, which will reduce recidivism by helping formerly incarcerated individuals reintegrate into society as soon as their sentence ends. By providing these men and women with access to housing, education, and employment assistance, we can empower them to take control of their futures and contribute to their communities.”

The One Stop Shop Community Reentry Program Act provides 5-year grants to community-based organizations and other eligible entities to create Community Reentry Centers. These centers can include:

  • Assistance with finding and maintaining employment
  • Job skills training
  • Assistance locating and retaining housing
  • Help obtaining driver’s licenses and ID cards
  • Assistance with applications for student loans and college admission
  • Financial Counseling
  • Access to mobile phones and internet access
  • Mentorship
  • Medical and mental health services
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Application or reactivation of professional and other licenses
  • Legal assistance for:
    • Record expungement
    • Forfeiture of property or assets
    • Family law and custody matters
    • Legal Aid Services
    • Family counseling
    • General problem solving when maneuvering the court system, such as electronic monitoring compliance, court-ordered substance abuse, restrictions on living with certain family members, and other court-ordered requirements