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January 20, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

The struggle for returning citizens

For those who have previously been incarcerated, the journey from prison to life as a returning citizen can be a long and difficult path to navigate. With many men who have exited the prison system reporting that they have very little to no education or job skills, and having experienced a great deal of trauma, it appears that much greater support is needed. (WaPo, 1/16)

The plight of someone coming back to society from incarceration is still largely misunderstood, and the population is inadequately served, comparatively. It is estimated that 60,000 people in D.C. have criminal records, with more than 8,000 returning each year from various prison populations. Recently a “ban the box” bill has been circulating through the City Council, an attempt to prevent employers from discriminating against job candidates based on their criminal records.


According to the D.C. Department of Corrections, from fiscal years 2008 to 2014, the number of inmates dropped 41 percent, from 3,100 to 1,841. During the same time, the city began releasing inmates at a faster clip than previously. That means there are more people out looking to rebuild lives. And the largest percentage of those people are black men, aged 21 to 30.

FOOD | Demand For Food Aid Rises Sharply in Washington, D.C. (WAMU, 1/16)

HEALTH | A new study from Johns Hopkins University points to being poor, African American, or Puerto Rican as the most important factors in determining a child’s risk for asthma. Previously, studies have determined that living in a major city was the most important risk factor, but this study showed some slightly different results (WTOP, 1/20):

Lead study author Dr. Corinne Keet, a pediatric allergy and asthma specialist at Johns Hopkins, says where there is poverty – whether it’s the inner city or in suburban areas — children are at risk for asthma.


“Twenty or 30 years ago, the areas that had the most concentrated poverty were really in the inner cities. Although there still are a lot of very poor inner-city areas in the U.S. right now, the highest rate of concentrated poverty is in the suburban areas.”

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: Are there way too many nonprofits to produce real impact these days? An author has advice on what funders should do in response. (Inside Philanthropy, 1/14)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | Humanities Endowment Seeks to Fund Research on Public Issues (NYT, 1/15)

It’s the third full week in January when research shows that New Year’s resolutions begin to die off. Here are some tips for staying on track!

– Ciara

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