STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT: Re-Entry Initiative (9/18/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                   September 18, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Working together, we have made great strides in reducing crime across
the country.  The overall crime rate is at its lowest point in 25 years,
and America is the safest it has been in a generation.  But I believe we
can make America even safer for our families.  We must continue to confront
emerging public safety challenges if we want to keep reducing crime in the
21st Century.

     One of the key challenges we must address is ex-offenders returning to
their families and communities after their release from prison.  While the
nation?s prison population growth rate has slowed to its lowest level in
two decades, more than 1.9 million individuals were incarcerated in state
and federal prisons and local jails in 1999.   As a result, an
unprecedented number of individuals will be released from prison in the
coming years ? nearly 600,000 in the next year alone.  Moreover, this
population poses a serious public safety risk: studies show that nearly
two-thirds of all released offenders will be arrested again within three

     That is why I have proposed a new public safety initiative aimed at
providing greater supervision for offenders reentering the community.   My
fiscal year 2001 budget includes a total of $145 million for innovative
?reentry? programs to promote responsibility and help keep ex-offenders on
track and crime- and drug-free.  Through this reentry initiative, the
Departments of Justice, Labor, and Health and Human Services will target
resources in high-impact communities for increased law enforcement, drug
testing and treatment, and critical employment, training, and other
services to help young ex-offenders work and meet their family
responsibilities, including child support.  The initiative would fund
reentry partnerships between police, correctional agencies, local service
providers, and key community organizations like faith-based, fatherhood,
and victims? groups.  Additionally, the initiative would fund reentry
courts, based on the drug court model, to provide critical supervision and
services for offenders.

     Today, the Administration is taking some important steps to move us
forward in this area.  The Justice Department is announcing over $57
million in Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) grants to all 50
states to provide substance abuse treatment to offenders in state and local
correctional facilities.  The Department of Health and Human Services is
also releasing child support demonstration grants, including a model
approach to improve child support and promote responsible fatherhood among
incarcerated fathers in Massachusetts.  In addition, the Attorney General
and other members of my Administration are hosting a roundtable discussion
with state and local leaders to spotlight an innovative reentry partnership
already underway in the Druid Heights neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland.
Congress could significantly expand and help launch similar efforts across
the country by fully funding our reentry initiative.  I urge them to do
this without delay.  If we all do our part, we can build on our progress
and strengthen America's communities and families.


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