Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening remarks, as prepared, during the markup of H.R. 8161, the One Stop Shop Community Reentry Program Act of 2020:
"H.R. 8161, the 'One Stop Shop Community Reentry Program Act,' would authorize grants to community organizations to create centralized reentry intake and coordination centers that would guide individuals recently released from correctional facilities through the difficult process of rejoining their communities.
"Having reentry resources available in the community is only part of the reentry challenge. Reentering individuals need easy access to the available programs, so that they may start the difficult reintegration process with assistance at every step of the way. This bill would provide comprehensive support to recently released individuals at community reentry centers, which would start to provide support the minute someone is released.
"The proposed community centers would provide assistance at each critical step of the reentry process. Upon release from jail or prison the reentry centers would pick up an individual or facilitate their transportation to the reentry center and would immediately start the process of finding housing for the recently released individual.
"Additionally, the proposed community centers would provide job training and would assist returning individuals with applying for benefits for which these individuals are eligible. For those who have reentry plans, the community reentry centers this bill proposes would provide case management and wrap-around support.
"This type of comprehensive support is necessary to address the challenges of reentry. Many newly-released inmates face serious problems, which can unfortunately exacerbate preexisting problems with drug addiction and mental illness and can lead to unsuccessful outcomes, such as homelessness.
"A failure to address these issues may also lead to recidivism and additional impacts on the community. Sadly, the families of returning individuals face these failures most acutely. This bill would address these challenges head-on, by offering the type of comprehensive support the One Stop Shop envisions.
"Patrons of the reentry centers would benefit from being guided through the difficult reentry process, often by persons who have been through the very same experience.
"This bill also authorizes a second initiative to assist reentering citizens in communities that do not have a large enough number of reentering individuals to maintain a standalone community reentry center. To address the challenges experienced by these individuals, the bill proposes a 24/7 reentry hotline to assist those recently released with reentry services near their homes.
"The reentry hotline would maintain a list of reentry services throughout the United States for individuals who are released into a different community or who need to relocate to abide by the terms of their release.
"Of the few studies that have assessed the effectiveness of reentry services, a number have found that more robust and comprehensive reentry services are better at reducing recidivism and promoting the long term success of reentering individuals. H.R. 8161 proposes to offer the type of support and program access that gives reentering individuals the best chance at success. I thank Crime Subcommittee Chair Karen Bass for her continued leadership on these issues and for introducing this important bipartisan legislation, along with Mr. Reschenthaler.
"I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill."