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Alabama Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law Review




The purpose of this Article is to propose a new federal certificate of rehabilitation program. The creation of such a program not only would help the thousands of federal offenders released back into their communities every year overcome employment barriers but would also serve as a model for states to use in addressing the need of their own burgeoning population of former offenders. In order to understand the magnitude of the problem, it is essential to understand the pool of offenders affected by their criminal history, the intent of the federal agencies to assist this disadvantaged group, and the barriers they face. This Article pulls from the most recent data and sources available to provide an in-depth picture of the problem so that suggested solution can be seen as a part of the whole.

Part I of this article presents a brief discussion of the policy focus that lead to passage of the Second Chance Act of 2007, the most significant piece of federal legislation to address reentry issues in order to provide the context for current re-entry initiatives; Part II provides the most recent information on the federal prison population, including current demographics, which provides the context for why federal offenders in particular may face hurdles to establishing rehabilitation for job purposes. Part III presents information on the Federal Bureau of Prisons and other federal agencies — including the role of federal probation officers and supervised release — involved in the reentry process, particularly as it relates to ex-offender employment training and reentry employment; Part IV examines the current economic and employment environment, particularly as it relates to ex-offenders; Part V provides an overview of current certificate rehabilitation programs, including their strengths and weaknesses and illustrates the disqualification of most federal offenders for such programmatic relief. The conclusion of this Article proposes a federal certificate of rehabilitation program as an extension of federal supervised release efforts. Such a program is consistent with the goals of reentry and would demonstrate that this country is, indeed, the land of the second chance.

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University of Alabama School of Law

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