Dec 5

Past Event

From Prison to Work: Overcoming Barriers to Reentry

Event Materials



  • Keynote Address

    U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) says that he believes that "we need to support programs that work for adult offenders -- that help prevent crime and reintegrate prisoners being released."

  • Introduction

    Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin says that putting former inmates into productive jobs is an "immensely important economic issue" and one that "requires leadership."

  • Prison-to-Work Event Roundtable

    Bruce Western of Harvard offers an overview of his new Hamilton Project discussion paper, followed by a roundtable discussion among experts with on-the-ground experience in the field.


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On December 5, The Hamilton Project hosted a policy discussion on the challenges of prisoner reentry. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin gave welcoming remarks and introduced U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.), who gave the keynote address.

Federal, state and local governments are feeling the strain of a vastly expanded penal system that supports over 2.25 million inmates nationwide. With 700,000 people released from prison each year, there is a social and economic imperative to create policies that help newly released prisoners transition into their communities and maintain stable employment.

Following the keynote address, The Hamilton Project hosted a policy roundtable on this important issue. Bruce Western of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government provided an overview of his new proposal, which was released as a Hamilton Project discussion paper. Western envisioned a national prisoner reentry program that would combine transitional employment, housing and substance abuse treatment with in-prison education and post-release parole reform. A panel of experts, including Scott Anders with the U.S. Probation Office in the Eastern District of Missouri, Glenn Martin with the Fortune Society, and Michael Thomas, prosecuting attorney for Saginaw County, Michigan, commented on the proposal and offered perspectives based on their diverse, on-the-ground experiences. Brookings Senior Fellow and Hamilton Project Director Douglas W. Elmendorf moderated the discussion.

Event Materials:

From Prison to Work: A Proposal for a National Prisoner Reentry Program
by Bruce Western

Summary »

Slide presentation »

Event Transcript:

Bob Rubin remarks »

From Prison to Work: Overcoming Barriers to Re-Entry » (pdf)

Event Agenda

  • Welcome

    • Robert E. Rubin

      Citigroup Inc.

  • Keynote Remarks

    • The Honorable Jim Webb (D-Va.)

      United States Senate

  • Roundtable on National Prisoner Reentry Opportunities

    • <a href="">Douglas W. Elmendorf</a> (Moderator)

      The Hamilton Project, The Brookings Institution

    • Scott Anders

      U.S. Probation Office, Eastern District of Missouri

    • Bruce Western

      Harvard University

    • Glenn Martin

      The Fortune Society

    • Michael Thomas

      Prosecuting Attorney, Saginaw County, Michigan


December 5, 2008

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST

The National Press Club


529 14th Street, NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105