Key Principles

Transforming how corrections and other systems work together to support reentry success was the focus of the Convergence Reentry Ready Project. Stakeholders expressed a deep commitment to advancing a set of actionable strategies that can lead to positive changes within and across multiple systems.

 

Key Principles

Transforming how corrections and other systems work together to support reentry success was the focus of the Convergence Reentry Ready Project. Stakeholders expressed a deep commitment to advancing a set of actionable strategies that can lead to positive changes within and across multiple systems.

To guide the exploration of strategies to support successful reentry, Reentry Ready Project stakeholders created a set of shared principles. The principles underscore a common purpose: to accelerate the transition already underway from using jails and prisons primarily to punish and isolate individuals who are incarcerated to using incarceration as a means to ensure that incarcerated individuals return to society prepared to be productive members of their communities.

Stakeholders agreed that reentry does not require a trade-off between public safety and success for formerly incarcerated individuals. In fact, successful reentry not only leads to a productive life for formerly incarcerated individuals, but also achieves greater public safety and more cost-effective use of public resources.

Stakeholders affirmed that incarceration and reentry do not affect the incarcerated individual only. Incarceration and reentry affects every person in the family and the community of the incarcerated individual. Incarceration and reentry of individuals affects our society as a whole. Therefore, the Reentry Ready Project’s principles and values apply to the individuals involved in the system, their families, their communities, and to the wide range of systems that contribute to the success of formerly incarcerated individuals as they reintegrate into society.

Humanity and agency of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals
We must uphold the humanity and agency of all incarcerated individuals. Individuals who have become involved in the criminal justice system should share in the decision-making process at all stages of reentry, enabling them to take responsibility for their actions and to articulate and achieve their goals.

Dignity for all with roles in incarceration and reentry
Incarceration and reentry systems should value and respect the dignity of incarcerated individuals, criminal justice staff, victims and survivors of crime, as well as families and communities with a stake in the individual’s successful reentry.

Concern for public safety implications of incarceration and reentry
Society has a fundamental interest in ensuring that incarceration systems contribute to successful reentry and reintegration. Successful reentry reduces recidivism, improves public safety, and frees up resources to meet other public needs.

Shared responsibility for reentry
Effective reentry is a shared responsibility of returning individuals, their families and the communities they return to, and the systems that need to work together to support reentry, including criminal justice, education, employment, housing, health and social services, whether administered by public institutions or by community-based nonprofit organizations and faith communities.

Systems collaboration and integration
Since no single agency or system has the entire responsibility of addressing and meeting the complex reentry needs of incarcerated individuals, public systems, philanthropy, business, the faith community, and other partners need to align with each other officially regarding their reentry goals. These systems should coordinate and integrate their support programs for incarcerated individuals, working together to create approaches and capacities to achieve reentry goals, to support and embrace a shared mission, and to ensure pathways for individuals to accomplish successful reentry into their families, communities, and civic life​.

Accountability
Policymakers should establish evidence-based reentry goals for the systems that need to collaborate, and they should allocate the resources necessary to achieve those goals. Policymakers should offer incentives ​encouraging systems to accomplish the identified reentry goals, as well as holding these systems accountable for meeting them.

Restoration and self-sufficiency
Establishing a sense of community belonging is an important part of reentry and reintegration. Therefore, once an individual has paid his or her debt to society, legal institutions should make every effort to restore the civic rights and privileges of the formerly incarcerated person, including the right to work, vote, parent, and engage in civic life.

Convergence Center for Policy Resolution is a national non-profit based in Washington, DC that convenes individuals and organizations with divergent views to build trust, identify solutions, and form alliances for action on issues of critical public concern. Reports and recommendations issued under our auspices reflect the views of the individuals and organizations who put the ideas forward. Convergence itself remains neutral and does not endorse or take positions on recommendations of its stakeholders.

Convergence Center for Policy Resolution
1133 19th Street NW, Suite 410
Washington, DC | 20036
202 830 2310

www.convergencepolicy.org

Convergence Center for Policy Resolution is a national non-profit based in Washington, DC that convenes individuals and organizations with divergent views to build trust, identify solutions, and form alliances for action on issues of critical public concern. Reports and recommendations issued under our auspices reflect the views of the individuals and organizations who put the ideas forward. Convergence itself remains neutral and does not endorse or take positions on recommendations of its stakeholders.

Convergence Center for Policy Resolution
1133 19th Street NW, Suite 410
Washington, DC | 20036
202 830 2310

www.convergencepolicy.org