HARRISBURG– The House Judiciary Committee has approved legislation sponsored by state Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., which would create the Pennsylvania Interagency Council on Inmate Reentry.
If enacted, Pennsylvania would be the first state to have such a council. A federal council was established in 2011.
Under Thomas’ bill (H.B. 2187), the council would be charged with examining:
- The cost of incarcerating inmates;
- Ways to strengthen the educational and vocational skills of those incarcerated;
- Ways to improve the process of inmate re-entry to the community;
- Ways to establish and implement effective re-entry plans before release.
“Our responsibility to offenders cannot end when they are released from prison because at least 40 to 50 percent of those in Pennsylvania prisons will return to our communities,” Thomas said. “The council created under my bill would bring the Pennsylvania departments of Education, Health, Public Welfare, Community and Economic Development and the Commission on Crime and Delinquency together to maximize efforts to make recidivism, crime reduction, reintegration and restorative justice a reality in our communities.”
House Bill 2187 now moves to the full House for consideration.