WHEREAS, every person is endowed with human dignity and value. Those who have fallen should have the opportunity to become contributing members of our great nation; and
WHEREAS, reentering society after incarceration can be a daunting and difficult transition and presents significant barriers. These barriers can include difficulty in finding housing, finding meaningful employment, rebuilding relationships with family and friends, and fully integrating back into a community; and
WHEREAS, the barriers that negatively affect former inmates are referred to as Collateral Consequences. The Council of State Governments reports that the number of collateral consequences of a criminal conviction exceeds 44,000, with 596 consequences specific to Alaska; and
WHEREAS, examples of collateral consequences in Alaska include the inability to serve on the Alaska State Legislature, work in childcare, be employed in the public safety arena, or to receive specific occupational licenses; and
WHEREAS, recidivism is when a former inmate has reentered society and then reoffends despite knowing the consequences. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics recidivism study from 2005-2014, five out of six state prisoners were arrested at least once within a span of nine years after their release and about four in nine were arrested at least once after just a year from release; and
WHEREAS, the Alaska Department of Corrections provides collaborative release planning including: individualized case management, programming, and positive family, community, and peer support services. By helping former inmates reenter society with valuable skill sets and available support networking, we increase public safety and reduce recidivism rates; and
WHEREAS, the State of Alaska is committed to a proactive reentry process that supports individuals transitioning out of incarceration.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim April 2020 as:
Second Chance Month
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to celebrate those who have successfully reentered society and to provide support and resources to former inmates in order to reduce recidivism, crime, and improve the safety of our communities.