U.S. official says prison system’s best reentry program cut ‘dramatically’ (The Washington Post)

The Justice Department’s second­-highest-ranking official Thursday said that the federal prison’s most successful education and reentry program has “dramatically” shrunk in recent years, leaving more than 10,000 inmates on a waiting list for prison jobs and educational training.

On the eve of the early release of thousands of federal inmates back to their homes, Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates said that the Bureau of Prisons vocational and educational program known as Federal Prison Industries (FPI) has been reduced to half of the size it was 10­ years ago. The program gives inmates the opportunity to build products such as furniture and electronics, while also earning money to pay court-ordered obligations.

“Inmates who participate in FPI are significantly less likely to recidivate after returning home and more likely to get a job after prison,” Yates said in a speech Thursday afternoon at Columbia Law School. “While FPI is a great recidivism-reduction program, reduced demand for its products and services has caused it to dramatically shrink over the past few years.”

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