March 18, 2021 --- On this 58th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) is pleased to announce its publication of The D.C. Reentry Navigator, a 900-page, 16-chapter book that is a comprehensive compilation of expert knowledge and reentry resources for people arrested, charged, tried, and/or convicted under District of Columbia law. For more than 60 years, PDS has provided high quality representation to indigent people facing a loss of liberty in the District’s criminal, juvenile, and mental health systems. PDS created The D.C. Reentry Navigator as a resource for persons working to regain their lives following arrest, conviction, and/or incarceration. Readers will learn more about:
Preparing for release from incarceration and succeeding on supervision
Accessing public benefits, healthcare, housing, employment, and education
Using technology and transportation
Obtaining personal records, managing personal finances, and building family ties
Understanding legal protections and rights
Registering to vote and resuming an active civic life
PDS intends that people will use The D.C. Reentry Navigator to educate, support, and empower themselves as they steer through the turbulence of life following criminal system involvement. For the first time, people affected by the system will have easy access to the resources at their fingertips – in hard copy or online – so that they may plan for their futures.
PDS sought input on the needs of people affected by reentry from community members and community-based organizations who are featured throughout the book. In addition, PDS worked with a number of organizations and federal and District of Columbia agencies, including Bread for the City, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, George Washington University Law School Prisoner & Reentry Clinic, Voices for a Second Chance, D.C. Department of Employment Services, D.C. Department of Corrections, D.C. Office of the Attorney General, Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizens’ Affairs, and many more, to ensure the breadth of resources available in The D.C. Reentry Navigator. With the help of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP), PDS will prioritize distributing hard copies of the book to persons serving sentences for D.C. Code violations in the BOP who have release dates within the next ten years and people in D.C.-area halfway houses. In addition, hard copies and PDFs will be provided to the D.C. Department of Corrections for residents and staff. Hard copies will also be shared with stakeholders. The D.C. Reentry Navigator is now available online to all by visiting https://www.pdsdc.org/need-legal-advice/dcreentrynavigator and below in PDF format: The D.C. Reentry Navigator: Empowering You to Succeed with a D.C. Criminal Record The D.C. Reentry Navigator: Empowering You to Succeed with a D.C. Criminal Record 508 Accessible Version
As explained by The D.C. Reentry Navigator’s author, Chiquisha Robinson, Deputy Chief for the Prisoner & Reentry Legal Services Program:
“Whether someone is reading this book in a bunk in a prison cell with years left on their sentence, or is reentering our community and trying to figure out how to take the Metro, access public benefits, reunite with their family, seek an education, or search for employment with a criminal record, this book is for them. It was carefully designed to compile all the guidance and resources needed to navigate life with a criminal record. PDS is publishing The D.C. Reentry Navigator because the information and resources it extensively covers should be available to everyone.”
Chiquisha Robinson is available for comment or interview at firstname.lastname@example.org.