KANSAS CITY, Mo. — About one in three American adults have some sort of criminal record, according to The Sentencing Project.
After punishment is served, a crime record can linger. That record can limit access to education, housing and jobs, which are often needed to successfully contribute to society.
April is “Second Chance Month,” and non-profit Second Chance Risk Reduction Center through the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission is trying to help with their “Give A Second Chance” initiative. Second Chance is collecting donations, which they say will help people overcome the barriers to returning to society and becoming self-sufficient.
Missouri has a return-to-incarceration rate of about 40%, Brittany Peterson with Second Chance said. Yet only 5% of the people they help end up back in prison.
“We ask our clients all the time to be vulnerable and to try something scary. Try something new. Otherwise, the prison system will continue to let you come back home,” Peterson said.
More than 60% of people who have been formerly incarcerated are jobless a year after their release, The Sentencing Project states. Those who do work have substantially less income than the average adult.
“You get back out into society, there’s a big barrier, psychologically,” Loveless Jones, a member of the program and a success story, said. “I told myself I was never going to go back to prison because that’s not a place I want to be, and I want to start a family.”
The Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission formed in 1949 as a way to fight against homicides and organized crime. Since then, their sponsored Crime Stoppers has become one of the most effective in the country, according to their website.