TACOMA, Wash. – People who have been in prison are less likely to end up there again if they can just find meaningful work with a decent wage once they go home. Yet survey results suggest that up to three-quarters of U.S. ex-offenders are still jobless up to a year after their release.
How can we ensure that more ex-detainees get that chance to start again in a new job? This will be one of many topics addressed at the 2013 Regional Reentry Conference, running Tuesday, July 30, and Wednesday, July 31, on the campus of University of Puget Sound. The conference is co-hosted by the Community Partnership for Transitional Services of Pierce, King, and Snohomish counties; New Connections, a community service supporting former inmates; and the Race and Pedagogy Initiative of University of Puget Sound.
This year’s conference theme is “Engaging Communities, Bridging Connections.” The programs are designed to initiate and refine best practices for supporting those in transition and for helping them prepare for productive and successful re-entry to their communities. The conference offers an opportunity for service providers, educators, faith-based organizations, and community organizations to network, share expertise, learn about best practices, and foster partnerships. The conference cost is $50 and you can register online or by mail. A limited number of scholarships and reduced cost registrations are available. See below for contact details.
The two keynote speakers will be The Hon. Mary I. Yu, a King County Superior Court judge and recipient of the American Bar Association’s 2012 Difference Makers Award; and Dan Satterberg, King County prosecuting attorney.
Given the complexity of the challenges faced by ex-offenders, a comprehensive re-entry strategy is needed by the state, conference organizers say. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice, more than 7 million adults (one in every 33) were under correctional supervision in 2010. This included those incarcerated in prison or local jails, and those supervised in the community or on probation or parole.
It has been found that of the offenders released from jail or prison, about one-third will be rearrested within three years. According to the Center for Effective Public Policy, offenders enter prison with a host of issues and exit with the same problems to face. Left unaddressed, these complications decrease their chances of building successful lives —and ultimately compromise public safety.
The conference will be opened by Dexter Gordon, director of the Race and Pedagogy Initiative at University of Puget Sound. It will include panel discussions and more than 20 presentation sessions and workshops. Some of these are: “Removing Barriers to Successful Community Re-entry,” “Federal Grants and Other Resources for Re-entry Programs,” “He who opens a school door, closes a prison—Victor Hugo,” and “Corrections: A New Way to Do Business.”
Mary Yu, the July 30 keynote speaker, was appointed King County Superior judge by Gov. Gary Locke in April 2000. Prior to her appointment, she served as deputy chief of staff to King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng and as director of the Office for Peace and Justice for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Judge Yu is currently a Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Seattle University School of Law. She has held numerous academic and legal roles, and received the 2012 President’s Award from the Asian Bar Association of Washington. She has won numerous other awards for her work as a judge and is active in several community organizations.
Dan Satterberg, who will give the keynote address on July 31, was elected King County prosecuting attorney in November 2007. Satterberg convened a 2012 King County re-entry summit that produced a practical set of recommendations for Washington state. The summit report, Investing for No Return, offers leadership for other counties wishing to engage in policy reform. Satterberg served as chief of staff for his predecessor, Norman Maleng, for 17 years, managing office affairs including budget, human resources, technology, and legislative and policy matters. Prior to this he was a trial attorney in the criminal division, where he spent time working in the special assault and drug units.
To register for the Regional Reentry Conference visit www.nctacoma.org
For directions and a map of the University of Puget Sound campus: www.pugetsound.edu/directions