The National Institute of Corrections states,
“In 2014, more than 636,000 people were released from state and federal institutions … approximately 1,750 per day—while another 11.4 million are reported to cycle through our local jails each year … Some return to families, jobs, and welcoming communities but most do not, which may largely explain the following: National studies indicate that 67.8% of state prisoners are rearrested within three years of their release, and 76.6% are arrested within five years of their release … Of those rearrested, nearly half—44.9%—are re-incarcerated … These high rates of re-arrest and re-incarceration translate to more victims, escalating correctional and justice system costs, and a cycle of challenges for those who enter the justice system and struggle to stay out.”
“Re-entry” is the term used to describe the processes and interventions that equip incarcerated individuals to return home and stay. It is no wonder that “re-entry” is of paramount concern nationally.
In 2016, Tennessee had over 50,000 men and women in our prisons and jails. Many of these individuals will become or are repeat offenders. That is far too many! The Tennessee Department of Corrections budget is just shy of $1,000,000,000 in 2017. This is not even accounting for jail costs, probation and parole, judges, lawyers and the multitude of hidden costs, such as:
- Victim costs
- Government-subsidized healthcare
- Property costs
- Loss of tax revenue
- Increased law enforcement
- Break-up of families
- Increased homelessness
According to the Tennessee comptroller, one unemployed ex-offender who is using drugs will commit over 100 new crimes per year. For the welfare of all citizens in our state, we absolutely must break this destructive cycle.
Prisoners, upon release, are simply not getting the help they need to break this vicious cycle. Crime not only affects the lives of those who are incarcerated, it also affects the lives of all citizens. Our feelings of safety are eroded and our hard-earned dollars go toward taxes to house these prisoners. If the great majority, 97% or more, of incarcerated felons will be released from prison, what type of person do we want released back into society? The same person who went in, who is now more desperate, full of anger, resentment, and rage and even more likely to commit serious crimes? Or a person who has changed and is committed to living a positive, honest life?
Men of Valor is committed to winning men in prison to Jesus Christ and discipling them. Our purpose is to equip them to re-enter society as men of integrity, becoming givers to the community rather than takers.