The New York Times Editorial Board recently gave their input on the issue of giving former inmates a fair shot when they leave prison, in a weekend editorial entitled “Labels Like ‘Felon’ Are an Unfair Life Sentence.” Their stance is evident from the headline, but the piece makes a series of compelling arguments for making it easier for convicts to rejoin society.
At the BBA, we run a series of workshops on civil legal issues through the BBA Reentry Education Program to help make probationers aware of the resources available to them. In light of the Times piece, we caught up with Lizbeth Ginsberg from Greater Boston Legal Services, who recently led a BBA Reentry Education Program session with participants in the CHOICE program on public benefits.
CHOICE is an intensive probation supervision program in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court. CHOICE offers young adult probationers the opportunity to pursue either educational or vocational goals as an alternative to incarceration.
Here is what Ginsberg had to say:
“I think it is important to do outreach to folks dealing with re-entry issues to give them information about benefits for which they may be eligible and which may provide critical support. I was also glad to see that some of the Committee for Public Counsel Services attorneys were very engaged and asking questions. My hope is that they’ll hold onto the information for future clients so that it might benefit other folks in addition to the CHOICE participants who were there for the presentation.”
Later this month, volunteer attorneys will hold a workshop on finding affordable housing for federal probationers who have recently left prison.