This bulletin is adapted from the third 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
HOWARD HUSOCK: I think it is fair to say that, over the course of our discussions at this conference, the content has evolved from a description of the problem to reflections on how to approach the problem. Specifically, I think we have begun to focus on the re-entering ex-offender population as a specific niche that, as criminal justice expert Jeremy Travis said, is something we are going to have to figure out over the long-term. I think this panel will now point us into the apogee of that discussion.
With us now are the guys who are on the front lines, working day-to-day with people coming out of prison, thinking about what are the right strategies. They are here to report to us. I understand that there may be big policy changes that we need to consider, and that the reports that we get from the field may not be the sum total of what we ought to be doing, but I hope that this panel can, at the very least, put a face on some of the statistics that we have heard about and give us some specific information about the approaches they have found to be successful.
Peter Cove and Mindy Tarlow are operating programs that are taking people off the streets and trying to point them toward the mainstream. Fred Davie from Public/Private Ventures in Philadelphia is evaluating an ambitious 17-city program that involves government money and faith-based groups to find out whether that approach is working. Finally, we will hear from Brent Orrell, who works for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and who has been thinking about what role the federal government ought to play. I would like to start by asking Mindy Tarlow to describe the typical person her organization deals with, and how she thinks they can reach him.