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The One Stop Shop Community Reentry Program Act of 2020

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 8, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ARMSTRONG. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, successful prisoner reentry into society is critical to reducing recidivism, improving public safety, and saving taxpayer dollars.

We have seen successful criminal justice reform programs, including reentry programs, work in both Republican- and Democratic-led States, including North Dakota. Successful reentry programs often utilize community-based groups like F5 in my home State.

Likewise, President Trump has been a leader in criminal justice reform. He and his administration have signed bipartisan legislation, such as the First Step Act, to make our Federal criminal justice system fair.

The First Step Act reauthorized programs that support State, local, and Tribal governments and nonprofit organizations in their work to reduce recidivism and to help people returning to society from incarceration.

H.R. 8161, the One Stop Shop Community Reentry Program Act of 2020, will build on the administration's strong criminal justice reform initiatives. This bill will provide grants for the purpose of creating a unified location for reentry services in the communities that serve former prisoners. These facilities will include job training, counseling, substance abuse treatment, education, and medical services, among others.

All of the data suggests that the most vulnerable time for someone being released from incarceration is within the first 30 days after release. I have seen this frustration firsthand as clients and offenders encounter unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles when trying to rebuild their lives. They must obtain housing, find a job, adhere to probation requirements, among many other tasks. That struggle is especially difficult when the individual suffers from substance abuse or, as Congresswoman Bass suggested, lacks even a high school education.

These one-stop centers will help break the cycle of addiction and recidivism. This bill complements the recidivism reduction programs funded by the Second Chance Act and reauthorized by President Trump.

I am pleased our colleagues recognize the administration's criminal justice successes and the bipartisan effort on these bills.

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Mr. ARMSTRONG. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I just want to take this opportunity to say this is a great bill and there are great people in government at the State, Federal, and local level who really do care and help to try and do these things, and we have come a long way in the last 5 to 10 years on a lot of these issues.

But I think it is really important to recognize that, oftentimes, the best people in organizations to help people reenter into society are often former felons themselves who have gone through these processes and have started community-based organizations and have continued to work with new people coming out of prison.

While we have to treat criminal justice and we have to treat serious offenses in the manner that is deserving of what they are, we also believe in rehabilitation; and what we do with that, particularly more than anything else, is a return on investment because, as we can get these people through this process and keep them out of the revolving door that can sometimes occur in the criminal justice system, we save people's lives, we save families, and we actually save taxpayer money.

This is a great bill, and I appreciate everybody's work on it.

Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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