Every year, nearly 700,000 people are released from American prisons, and an estimated 9 million are released from jail.
According to the National Institute of Justice, almost two-thirds of them are arrested again within three years. Once released, formerly incarcerated people face a myriad of barriers to successfully re-entering society. They are not allowed to vote, have little access to education, face scant job opportunities, and are ineligible for public benefits, public housing and student loans. These obstacles have profoundly negative effect on millions of American families and make it practically impossible for millions of people who are returning home to be the engaged, responsible citizens we say we want them to be.