Obama Visits NJ Halfway House To Highlight Success In Rehabilitating Former Prisoners

By Victoria Kim 11/04/15

The president highlighted his administration's efforts at changing the criminal justice system.

President Barack Obama

On Monday, President Barack Obama praised the “good work” of Integrity House, a halfway house and drug treatment center, for helping former prisoners with addiction treatment, housing and employment assistance, and other services.

“It is a model for the good work that is being done sporadically around the nation,” said Obama. “We look forward to seeing more success.”

His visit to the Newark, N.J., halfway house is intended to highlight criminal justice issues and efforts to reintegrate offenders back into the community as an alternative to prison.

Obama met with residents like Daryl Rose, who has been released from prison and now lives in the facility, and two other residents, Sharon Boatwright and Stephanie Luna. In June, Luna pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine. But instead of a potential 20-year prison sentence, she is receiving treatment at Integrity House.

The visit is also an effort to renew the president's call to Congress to pass a bipartisan bill reducing mandatory minimum sentences, The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act.

Obama discussed criminal justice reform in his weekly radio address on Saturday, ahead of his trip to Newark.

“Every year, we spend $80 billion in taxpayer dollars to keep people incarcerated. Many are nonviolent offenders serving unnecessarily long sentences," Obama said. "I believe we can disrupt the pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails ... And I believe we can help those who have served their time and earned a second chance get the support they need to become productive members of society.”

The president’s emphasis on criminal justice reform sheds light on the importance of efforts to reduce recidivism among former prisoners.

“Every day, treatment centers all over the country, like Integrity House, work to assist those seeking help to feel confident in their ability to regain control of their lives and provide them with proper support and treatment to enable them to live a healthy and rewarding life,” Robert J. Budsock, the CEO of Integrity House, told NJ.com.

The president also addressed criminal justice reform at Rutgers-Newark later that day.

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