The United States comprises about 4% of the world’s population – and houses about 22% of the world’s prison population. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that each year approximately 650,000 people are released from prison. Helping this population with a successful transition following incarceration is not only critically important to the individuals involved, but to society generally.
This week, Proskauer partnered with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) to host a panel discussion addressing reentry challenges for previously incarcerated individuals and their families. Panelists included Judy Whiting, General Counsel at the Community Service Society of New York; Rob DeLeon, Associate Vice President of Programs at The Fortune Society; Esta Bigler, Director of Cornell University ILR’s Labor and Employment Law Program; and Gwen Washington, Director of Pro Bono at DC Law Students in Court. They analyzed barriers faced by the formerly incarcerated population, which is disproportionately drawn from minority and low income communities, and highlighted initiatives that offer solutions, including legal assistance in petitioning the court to seal old convictions and family law consultations to ease the reentry process.