This Crain Does Some Heavy Lifting
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Texas has more prisoners under lock and key than any other state, with more than 225,000 inmates currently housed in state and federal facilities. Our state also is home to more than 400,000 people who are on probation and more than 100,000 parolees. A 2014 report published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics examined prisoners in 30 states from 2005 to 2010, and found that 68 percent were rearrested for new crimes within three years and nearly 77 percent were rearrested within five years.
To say that prison overpopulation and recidivism are big issues for Texas is a massive understatement. Fortunately, there are many who work inside and outside our justice system to combat the growing prison population and help former inmates reintegrate themselves into society.
One of the state’s leading advocates for former inmates is Dallas attorney Christina Melton Crain, President and CEO of Dallas-based Unlocking DOORS, which provides services that help the previously incarcerated by creating customized plans that help them find work and resume their lives outside of prison. Crain was the first woman to chair the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, and the women’s prison in Gatesville was named in her honor, so she clearly knows her stuff, as evidenced in this recent newspaper profile.
According to the article, Crain has personally responded to more than 4,500 individual letters written to her by inmates since Unlocking DOORS opened in 2010. Unlike other re-entry programs, Unlocking DOORS is not mandated by the courts and all the company’s clients have voluntarily joined the program. The nonprofit has assisted thousands of clients by connecting them with providers of employment, health care, housing, drug treatment and transportation.
“If we don’t guide them to the right places and make sure they get a comprehensive understanding of what they really need in order to achieve self-sufficiency that’s crime free, then we’re all going to be paying for it,” she is quoted as saying. “Whether you’re a victim because they committed another crime, or your taxes go up because we need more tax dollars to pay for incarceration or supervision.”
Crain deserves the hearty thanks of all Texans for her important work, which benefits not only her clients and the justice system, but society at large.
Posted: 1/13/2016 8:00:00 AM by
Angie Olson | with 2 comments