The program would reduce recidivism, enhance public safety, and save New York money.

Currently, New Yorkers returning to the community after a period of incarceration are provided $40, a MetroCard or other ticket for public transportation, and a non-driver identification card. Together, the resources provided to people leaving prison are commonly referred to as gate money, which is meant to help them cover immediate expenses such as transportation or basic necessities as they transition back into their community. Fifty years ago, $40 was found to be inadequate to serve this purpose; today it is woefully insufficient.

The Brennan Center supports the Gate Money Program bill (S. 6643A/A. 9115), aimed at increasing the amount of money people are provided when leaving prison through a new reentry fund. By providing financial assistance to those leaving prison, this bill helps bridge the gap between incarceration and successful reintegration into the community. New York must prioritize supporting members of the community who are returning from incarceration — it cannot afford to neglect their needs any longer.

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