This bulletin is adapted from the second panel of three at a Manhattan Institute conference, "Moving Men into the Mainstream: The Next Steps in Urban Reform," held in New York on June 21, 2006. The other panel discussions are available in Civic Bulletins 44 and 45
CLARENCE PAGE: I want to say a couple of words about our topic, "From Recidivism to Redemption: Ending the Cycle of Incarceration." This week is the twentieth anniversary of the death of Len Bias, the University of Maryland basketball player who died of a cocaine overdose, ending what promised to be a stunning career. His death sparked the new phase of the drug wars we have seen since the 1960s. I bring this up because it is indicative of the explosion of prison populations over the last few decades and the inevitability of people reentering society from prison. This has a particularly brutal impact on the African-American community, and raises questions about how we can reintroduce—or in many cases introduce—folks to a mainstream life. We have a group of distinguished experts here today who I hope can offer some insight into this. I am going to ask each of our panelists to give a brief overview from their own perspective on this topic and then have a broader discussion with me.
We will begin with Jeremy Travis from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Followed by Chauncey Parker from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.