Dear Anne Arundel County delegation,
You are cordially invited to attend a viewing of the PBS documentary “Searching for Justice: Life after Lockup,” followed by a panel discussion with local returning citizens.
The documentary and panel discussion that follows reveal the journey of individuals who spent time incarcerated and the challenges they faced after they were released. You will learn from the individuals that experienced it, about the barriers that formerly incarcerated people face once they are released — reconnecting with family and friends, finding a place to live, holding a job, and staying out of jail or prison.
The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world — with more than 2 million people behind bars, according to the World Prison Brief. The country also has the highest prison population rate, with 629 per 100,000 people incarcerated. Once incarcerated people are released, they face restrictions on their full re-entry into society. The National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction includes more than 44,000 laws and policies across the U.S. that impose limits on people who have been convicted of a crime.
After incarcerated people are released, research also shows that recidivism — the likelihood that someone who has been convicted of a crime and released from incarceration will be arrested again and/or re-offend — is a concern. Approximately two-thirds of people formerly incarcerated in state prisons were rearrested within three years, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. Change is needed and overdue.
We are hopeful you will leave with a desire to use your voice and position to effect positive change for those who need a second chance.
Vanessa Bright, Executive Director
Maryland Reentry Resource Center