Pennsylvania Reentry Council

In May 2017, Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Governor Tom Wolf announced the creation of the Pennsylvania Reentry Council.

The primary mission of the Pennsylvania Reentry Coalition (PARC), which the Office of Public Engagement is coordinating, is to make communities safer by reducing recidivism and victimization through the successful reintegration of returning citizens by supporting the efforts of county reentry coalitions and other federal, state, and local reentry organizations. The PARC was created to respond to the reality recognized by Attorney General Josh Shapiro that: “for too long, we’ve relied solely on incarceration to prevent crime and violence. Yet, there are 2 million people incarcerated in the United States and 86,000 in the Commonwealth. There is a vicious cycle of prisoners being freed from prison, committing new crimes and having to serve more time behind bars. When two of every three people emerging from jail commit another crime and are incarcerated again, it’s clear the system is broken.”

The PARC seeks:

To expand education of the public, members of law enforcement and criminal justice, and policymakers about the importance of supporting prisoner reentry efforts to reduce crime and violence.

To promote the collaboration among county reentry coalitions and state and federal agencies.

To provide a forum for the sharing of best practices, including reviewing and promoting successful evidence-based reentry programs and initiatives and supporting and promoting new programs.

To identify barriers to successful reentry and for persons with criminal records, including but not limited to providing, facilitation, and expanding access to:

housing, employment, job training, education, and transportation;

driver’s licenses, social security cards, and other Identification documents that are essential to obtaining employment, housing, and other governmental assistance;

evidence-based treatment including mental health, trauma, addiction, and  treatment to address criminal thinking; and

prosocial needs, including family reunification, mentors, peer support, and faith-based services.

To identify strategies to overcome the barriers facing the successful reentry of returning citizens and to overcome challenges faced by county reentry coalitions to implement policies to assist returning citizens.