September 9, 2008: Today the Manhattan Institute
is honored to participate in a press conference hosted by the City
of Newark, U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), and the State of New
Jersey to announce a $5 million grant to support the Citys
Prisoner Reentry Initiative. This initiative represents a new type
of federal programpublic and private partners working together
to make Newark the nations first city to implement the proven
Ready4Work approach to helping ex-offenders obtain and retain jobs.
Newarks Prisoner Reentry Initiative is a culmination of more
than a year of joint efforts by the City of Newark, Nicholson Foundation,
and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (MI).
Prisoner reentry is vital to reducing crime in cities.
Every year, approximately 14,000 men and women are released from
correctional facilities throughout New Jersey, nearly 65% of whom
are re-arrested within five years. This new rapid attachment
to work program will help reduce recidivism rates among men
and women in Newark, which currently has the highest per capita
number of parolees of all U.S. cities.
Spearheading MIs effort in Newark is Richard Greenwald,
a Manhattan Institute senior fellow on loan to Mayor Cory Bookers
administration. Greenwald, the longtime head of Philadelphias
Transitional Work Corporation, has a long and successful track record
with the ex-offender population. He is focusing on improving Newarks
ability to help formerly incarcerated individuals rejoin society
by finding employment shortly after release, retaining employment,
and developing relationships with their children and families. To
foster these aims in Newark, he brought to Newark one of the nations
most successful private job-placement agencies for low-income populations,
America Works. In addition, hes created a network of the leading
national experts on prisoner reentry to help Newark both develop
a successful reentry programand to measure its results.
The Manhattan Institute has long been committed to finding
ways of drawing the disadvantaged into the social and economic mainstream,
through the time-honored American combination of free markets and
personal initiative. And MI has worked to help cities improve their
quality of life. These commitments came together in this project
with the City of Newark, New Jersey, where we are helping to design
and implement a strategy for a model prisoner-reentry program.
Mayor Bookers reform agenda signals its intention
to help ex-offenders in much the way that welfare reforma
major Manhattan Institute priority of the 1990shelped welfare
mothers: through rapid attachment to work. It is the
understanding that ex-offenders transition back into society more
easily, and are less likely to offend again, if they are presented
with a job opportunity as soon after release as possible. The Manhattan
Institute seeks to make the concept of prison-to-work
as instantly recognizable as welfare-to-work.
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