Reencuentro PR Inc. is the brain child of Mr. Carlos Cuevas Morales and Mr. Luis Rivera.
Carlos Cuevas Morales was the leader and sole indicted member of the first narcotics importation Continuous Criminal Enterprise case out of the Federal jurisdiction of Puerto Rico. Carlos plead guilty to the charges and was sentenced to a term of 50 years out of which he recently completed 30 consecutive years in U.S. Federal Penitentiaries.
THE DRUG INDUSTRY: The drug industry is composed of the Production, Traffic and Consumer phases. The drug producing countries are poor with a high degree of illiteracy and social needs. The consuming countries are usually rich and developed. After fifty some years of drug prohibition the “War Against Drugs” program has been a monumental failure in lives and resources affected or lost. Prohibition did not work then, is not working now, and will never work and the reason is simple, no one can regulate morality. Drugs are now more accessible, the quality is higher, and the prices are lower than thirty years ago. The consumption of illicit drugs has escalated to a point where now, in all the streets of any major city as well as within the constricted environment of the worst prisons of Puerto Rico, the U.S. and abroad, illicit drugs are abundant. As a result, drug cartels as well as terrorist organizations, both of which are financed by the illicit drug industry, have grown stronger and more violent, reflection of which can be seen in the murder statistics of most U.S. cities, Puerto Rico, Central/ South America, and Mexico.
War Against Drugs: In over fifty years most developed countries have not been able to find a solution towards the control of their domestic consumption. Political, media, private, public, and community interest groups leaders need to find a collective interest in addressing creative and non-traditional solutions. Statistics indicate that the United States has 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prisoners and over half of them of them are incarcerated for drug related non violent offenses.
Recidivism: The other aspect is the revolving door status in relation to inmates released and their recidivism. U.S. Justice Department statistics indicate that over 700,000 convicts are released from U.S. prisons every year. Over half of them have been incarcerated for drug related criminal activity. Their recidivism rate is 66% which is highly incremented in those that are under 25 years old which, in direct correlation, are the majority of the persons committing violent crimes. This can be attributed, at least in part, to the ineffectiveness of the existent and traditional transition and reintegration programs. Statistics also reveal that if ex-convicts are employed within the first 6 months after being released they are less likely to commit a new offense. (Federal Bureau of Prisons (2000). TRIAD Drug Treatment Evaluation Project Final Report of Three-Year Outcomes: Part I. ORE Report)
Reentry: Convicts encounter many obstacles after their release. Besides the obvious stigma, the denial of voting and housing rights, and limited employment opportunities, most return to the communities from which they originally came from, not by choice, but for lack of employment opportunities. As we all know, in these marginal communities there is a high incidence of criminal activity as well as very limited access to legal employment and drug/alcohol treatment. Reducing this high rate of recidivism would translate into positive and beneficial impact on society’s human, economic, and social costs. For this to take place a joint, active, and non-traditional effort, in conjunction with the private, community, public, independent, media, and faith based sectors of society, is needed.
The Foundation: As an example of the above, and while still incarcerated, I obtained the addresses of 55 of the most well known companies in the United States and sent to each of their CEO’s a copy of my resume in which I stated my educational background and professional experience in the Insurance Industry. I also made clear my status at the time as a Federal inmate who was exploring the possibilities of a job interview upon my eventual release. Out of these 55 companies only 8 of them answered, but not one offered the opportunity of an interview, much less the possibility of employment. Upon encountering this situation, and understanding that providing employment alternatives is critical to any ex-convict’s reentry success, in 2008 Luis Rivera and I created and incorporated, under the laws of the State Department of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , Register No. 54319, a non- profit Foundation named Reencuentro PR Inc. which, among other services, directs ex-convicts towards job opportunities.
As ex-convicts, we should use this experience to make peace with our past and reconcile ourselves with society reevaluating our priorities while seeking worthwhile goals in life. To make this reconciliation the vast majority of us only need to seek and implement the tools that will allow us to successfully reintegrate back into society. We hope that once we have acquired these tools society will believe in us and give us an opportunity to move forward. For many of us, all it takes for this change to happen is to have one person believe in us as we believe in ourselves.
THE FOUNDATION HELPING EX-CONVICTS REINTEGRATE INTO SOCIETY
Up to the present Luis has interviewed 265 ex-convicts from Puerto Rico all of which have been directed to work in the following areas: construction, maintenance, security, paint shops, auto repair, sales and installation of tires, cafeterias, and landscaping.
For further information please contact us at:
Dr. S. De Jesus-Zayas
Fundación Reencuentro Puerto Rico Inc.
Condominio Playa Mar
1 Amapola St.
Carolina, Puerto Rico 00979