Nationwide, nearly 700,000 prisoners are released annually. If historic trends hold, nearly two-thirds will be re-incarcerated within three years.
In an effort to stop this trend and improve the quality of life for citizens in affected communities, the Manhattan Institute worked with the City of
Newark to develop the Newark Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative, testing a new model for prisoner re-entry policy in America.
Newark is a city profoundly impacted by incarceration and recidivism. In a city of approximately 280,000 residents, more than 1,700 individuals return
to Newark from state prison annually and an additional 1,400 Newarkers are released from the local jail, the Essex County Correctional Facility, every
month. Further, at any given time, more than 6,500 Newarkers are under Federal Probation, State Parole or County Probation. Of those returning home, it
has been estimated that 62% will be re-arrested, re-convicted or re-incarcerated within three years of release.
The cost to Newark citizens, and New Jerseyans as a whole, of this cycle of arresting, incarcerating and re-arresting the same individuals time and
time again is not simply the cost of incarceration, which tops out at an estimated $48,000 per year. This cycle contributes to unemployment, family
destabilization, and a disruption of the economic and social fabric of communities. Put simply, incarceration and recidivism compound community fragility.
Under the vision of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and in consultation with the Manhattan Institute, the Office of Reentry opened its doors in April 2009
as an initiative of the Mayor's Department of Economic & Housing Development to confront this problem head-on. Through this office, the Mayor seeks a new
approach: an emphasis on helping formerly incarcerated individuals quickly find jobs, in the belief that "rapid attachment to work" can provide
alternatives to crime and new hope for the future.
How It Works
The Office of Reentry is charged with developing and carrying out a strategic plan for reentry. It also is the operational hub for reentry services in
the city. It develops and manages programs that assist formerly incarcerated individuals to rapidly find – and keep – a job; oversees a data-driven,
performance-management system of reentry service providers; and provides facilitated access to services by conducting intakes and needs-assessments at two
The Office of Reentry also obtains resources – whether public or philanthropic – to serve formerly incarcerated Newarkers and their families. To this end,
the Office of Reentry regularly reviews process and outcome data of programs to ensure that critical benchmarks, such as reductions in recidivism and
increases in workforce participation, are being met.
Among the programs overseen by the Office of Reentry is the Newark Prisoner Reentry Initiative (NPRI). Newark was the first City in the country to receive a
Prisoner Reentry Initiative grant from the United States Department of Labor to bring a reentry system "to scale." Under this program, the City has provided
more than 1,400 formerly incarcerated individuals with job development, job retention, case management, and mentoring services. The program has achieved a 73%
"entered employment" rate (measured by placement in the first quarter following exit from the program), an average hourly wage of more than $9.00/hr., and a
six-month "job retention" rate of nearly 70%. The one-year recidivism rate for NPRI participants is well below the state average. All NPRI contracts are
performance-based, and no agency will receive the full amount of the contract without meeting aggressive benchmarks set by the City.
is Chair of the Newark Reentry Advisory Board and manages the Office of Reentry for the City of Newark, which oversees the Newark Prisoner Reentry
Initiative and other reentry projects managed by the City of Newark. In addition to operating reentry programs, the Office of Reentry coordinates
services among governmental and community organizations to improve the delivery of services to formerly incarcerated individuals, manages
performance of city agencies and contracted service providers to improve effectiveness of reentry programs, and works to expand resources for
reentry initiatives. Ingrid's work in Newark is sponsored by the Manhattan Institute.
US Dept of Labor Grant
On Tuesday, September 9, 2008, the Manhattan Institute was honored to participate in an announcement by
the City of Newark, U.S. Department of Labor and State of New Jersey of a $5 million grant to support Newark's Prisoner Reentry Initiative.
This initiative is the culmination of over a year of joint efforts by the Manhattan Institute, the City of Newark, the Nicholson Foundation.