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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Report: CT formerly incarcerated people face reentry challenges

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Wednesday, February 28, 2024   

A new report finds Connecticut's recently released prison population is facing reentry challenges.

The State of Reentry report found resources and services are lacking for formerly incarcerated people. Between 2022 and 2023, 14% of the population said they would be homeless upon release.

It is just the tip of the iceberg as many of the state's Reentry Welcome Centers reported most of their clients were housing unstable.

Scott Wilderman, president and CEO of Career Resources, said it can be attributed to numerous factors including the stigma of being an ex-offender.

"We have to do a better job of educating and working with landlords and try to encourage them to give individuals a second chance," Wilderman contended. "There's no doubt about that. The sad part is, with returning citizens or ex-offenders, there's really no such thing as an ex-offender since everybody always sees the offense."

He thinks Connecticut should focus more on justice reinvestment. Other criminal justice advocates have called for using funds saved by closing prisons to invest in reentry centers. The centers are not funded by the state and have been subsisting on American Rescue Plan funds. When the money expires at the end of the year, it is uncertain how they will be able to help people with life after prison.

Given it is the third year of the report, Wilderman acknowledged there have not been many changes, but he found it surprising, noting there has been plenty of time to make improvements, specifically in areas like education.

"We know education is the great equalizer and having a high school diploma is essential," Wilderman asserted. "It just opens a lot more doors for an individual as it's often a requirement for employment, or in some cases going after further education or job training."

The report noted 66% of incarcerated people with sentences ending in six months said they did not have a high school diploma. Enrollment is down in programs for incarcerated people to complete their degrees. One reason for it is Connecticut's ongoing teacher shortage.


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