By: Cynthia Works. Published by: Clearinghouse Review. Published in: October 2003
Formerly incarcerated individuals face significant legal barriers as they seek to reenter society. The legal barriers include preclusion from public housing and public assistance, licensing prohibitions and employment prohibitions. Works examines the data from major reentry initiatives to determine whether the legal needs of formerly incarcerated individuals are being met. The data suggest that reentry programs do not adequately address the legal needs of their clients. This article then examines the potential for partnership between reentry programs and existing legal service providers in an effort to close the legal services gap in reentry.
“Without assistance from civil legal aid attorneys and public defenders equipped to handle the legal hurdles of reentry, many ex-offenders end up on the docket of the same public defender who helped them on the very offense for which they were originally incarcerated” (p. 330).