WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Justice has announced plans to endow a $53 million grant to local programs that provide support to former inmates.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch revealed the decision to award the "second-chance" grant to such organizations Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum in order to help prevent recently freed inmates from being sent back to jail.
"There are many barriers that we have seen in the way of people coming out of our prisons to becoming productive citizens again," Lynch said at the event, which covered various topics surrounding the current criminal justice climate.
"There comes a time when we have to make a decision as to how we are going to reintegrate those individuals back into our society in a way that benefits them, as well as keeps our communities safe," she said.
The Department will focus on job training workshops, scholarships and rehabilitation for those who have left prison and returned to their respective neighborhoods. During the forum, Lynch cited a recent study about recidivists, or those who repeatedly offend the law, that found those who move to a new location upon being released from jail are less likely to return.
The study observed the post-incarceration lifestyles of people from New Orleans who found their homes were impossible to return to after Hurricane Katrina. Instead of moving back to the Ninth Ward, they rejoined family members living elsewhere in the United States. This, the study found, proved beneficial to them.
"Individuals who went to different locations were plugged into networks of support that were stronger than they would have found in the Ninth Ward," Lynch said. "So our goal is not to move people from their neighborhoods, our goal is to strengthen neighborhoods to support people coming back to them."