San Francisco, CA – In a welcome statement for the Third Annual Prisoner Reentry Summit, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) commended San Francisco city leaders for their “innovate work to reduce recidivism” and pledged to create opportunities for former prisoners if elected president.
In his letter, Senator Obama recognized that American urban communities are facing an “incarceration and post-incarceration crisis.” Senator Obama vowed to “create a prison-to-work incentive program, modeled on the successful Welfare-to-Work Partnership, to create ties between employers and third-party agencies that provide training and support services to ex-offenders and to improve ex-offender employment and job retention rates.” Senator Obama also pledged that he would “work to reform correctional systems that prevent former inmates from finding and maintaining employment.”
The Third Annual Summit is being organized by the Safe Communities Reentry Council (SCRC). The SCRC was established in 2005 to promote the safe and successful return of formerly incarcerated San Franciscans by developing a comprehensive support system that reduces violence and recidivism, and promotes public safety.
According to SCRC spokesperson and Public Defender Jeff Adachi, “We are very pleased that Senator Obama has issued a statement in support of re-envisioning federal reentry policies. With one out of every 100 Americans in jail or prison, we need to provide greater support to former prisoners who want to turn their lives around.”
Senator Obama’s statement will kick-off the Third Annual Reentry Summit: Reentry Works: Creating Employment Opportunities for Formerly Incarcerated San Franciscans, which will be held on Monday, September 29, 2008, at the Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena in San Francisco. Panelists will include formerly incarcerated individuals, criminal justice and workforce development experts and employers. Several initiatives for employers who hire ex-offenders, including the Enterprise Zone tax credit and federal bonding program, will be highlighted. Sponsors for the event include The California Endowment.
Senator Obama’s letter will be read by Vanessa Vega, a high school student. A copy of Senator Obama’s support letter, additional information, and registration for the 3rd Annual Reentry Summit can be found at http://sfreentry.com.