United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch was welcomed to the Suffolk County House of Correction by Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins for a daylong discussion about reentry, recidivism and criminal justice reform.
Joined by a multitude of representatives from partnering organizations and agencies that have helped to shed a national spotlight on the Department’s key reentry programs, Sheriff Tompkins introduced U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and spoke about the purpose of her visit.
“It’s a very exciting day for us at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, and we are honored to have such an esteemed guest here with us,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “United States Attorney General Lynch came to meet with us to talk about what we do and how we do it, and to see whether our programs can be replicated across the country.”
Along with Department staff and current and former inmates, others in attendance included United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, Nantucket County Sheriff James Perelman, Reverend Jeffrey Brown and numerous other community stakeholders.
Following a roundtable discussion, U.S. Attorney General Lynch held a question-and-answer session with providers and partners of the Department, and spoke about the need for criminal justice reform and the importance of reentry programming.
“I’m here to talk about some of the good work that the Sheriff’s Department is doing,” said Attorney General Lynch. “One of the most important issues of the day is criminal justice reform and also focusing on reentry outcomes. It’s not just an area of great importance for the Department of Justice or the Attorney General’s Office, but the entire administration up to and including President Barack Obama.”
According to Attorney General Lynch, since the passing of the Second Chance Act by the United States Congress in 2007, the administration has given away more than 750 Second Chance grants totaling approximately $400 million dollars – $53 million of which were spent last year alone.
Speaking about the experiences gained during her visit to the House of Correction, Attorney General Lynch thanked Sheriff Tompkins for his hospitality and praised the Department for its reentry programming.
I want to thank Sheriff Tompkins and his staff for having us,” Attorney General Lynch said. “The United States Department of Justice is a proud and committed partner with our Sheriff and his colleagues. I’ve had the pleasure, privilege and, frankly, the honor to meet with several former and current participants of some very important groups. BRI, CGI and CREW – these programs aim to reduce recidivism and prepare people to return to society.”
“What I was struck by was how graciously [program participants] shared their stories and their pasts and how their paths were really very similar,” she continued. “They’ve found people here who believe in them and have helped them to build a foundation, people with whom they’ve essentially formed a family here inside this institution. They’ve helped them to move back home, move back with families, move back with communities and move back into life.”
For more information about U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the United States Department of Justice, visit: www.justice.gov