REENTRY REVAMPED

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Every year the 100,000 prisoners released from New York State jails and prisons are greeted by a host of barriers. Now, however, they will also have some high-tech help. Launched earlier this month, Reentry.Net/NY is the first free online library devoted to helping ex-offenders reintegrate into society. Coordinated by Bronx Defenders, a legal aid group, and Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit headquartered in Manhattan, the clearinghouse represents the collaborative efforts of more than a dozen groups, including the New York State Defenders Agency and the Center for Community Alternatives, a nonprofit based in Syracuse. Its holdings, which are expected to double by next spring, include roughly 275 documents geared toward both advocates and clients, including policy manuals, reference charts of immigration laws, and sample letters to potential employers and landlords. “The fundamental goal is to improve outcomes,” said McGregor Smyth, the Reentry Net director and director of the Bronx Defenders’ Civil Action Project. “We intend to provide advocates with a connection to resources in their daily work and then also to each other.” (M. Herbert) [11/14/05]