Support second chances

EDITOR

The goal of incarceration and community supervision has been redefined. The primary purpose used to be incapacitating a person convicted of a crime until their sentence was complete, an approach that inevitably led to high recidivism rates and wasted taxpayer dollars. But today, leaders across the country have come to acknowledge that 95 percent of the nation’s incarcerated population will eventually return to their communities, and a big part of ensuring public safety is preparing people for that transition.

These advancements are happening right here, specifically through the Michigan Department of Corrections Offender Success program administered by Great Lakes Recovery Centers Inc., throughout all 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula.

April marks Second Chance Month, where programs like ours throughout the country will spread awareness of the importance of reentry and celebrate the hard work they’ve done. These efforts — which include creating access to employment, finding stable housing, and providing effective parole supervision — all contribute to the complex fabric of successful reentry.

We still have a long way to go, but there’s more momentum than ever. Let’s not lose it. With the research on what works to reduce recidivism expanding, and both sides of the political aisle advocating programs and policies that promote successful reentry, we’ve never been more equipped to make communities like ours safer and we’ve never been more prepared to support second chances.

Jason Sides

Marquette