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THE HARSH REALITY OF PRISON RE-ENTRY PROGRAMS IS THIS:

Without the assistance of local, state and federal government, businesses, corporations, and foundations increasing their funding and availability of programs and services these sources, more and more community based re-entry programs will close.  And where will the ex-offender go?

 
Bottom line is this:Would you rather increase the number of prison re-entry programs for ex-offenders or would you rather the ex-offender drift in your community and you could be the next victim?

 

Collaboration is defined as:

Working together to achieve a common goal that is difficult or impossible to reach without the assistance of another.



About Ex-offenders

In the United States, one out of every 295 residents was behind bars in 2014 -- a level of imprisonment shared only by Russia, among Western nations. "We have nine percent of the world's population, and 35 percent of the world's prisoners," notes Vincent Schiraldi, president of the Justice Policy Institute, a research and advocacy organization.


Those prisoners are disproportionately black and Hispanic, and are mostly young and male. An estimated 15 percent of African-American men, 9 percent of Hispanic men, and 1.8 percent of white men in their 20s and early 30s were incarcerated in 2014.

Men are more than 10 times as likely to be imprisoned as women, but the female incarceration rate has been growing faster than the male rate. About 266,000 women were in prisons or jails in 2014.

The dramatic growth in incarceration has been part of a "get-tough" approach to crime that also has led to less sentencing flexibility and more emphasis on punishment than rehabilitation.

Whether or not this approach has been a success is a matter of continuing debate. Supporters point to generally falling rates of violent crime in the 1990s. Opponents point to higher rates of recidivism among offenders after release.






Since many of the complex barriers offenders face are beyond the expertise (and resources) of most individual corrections agencies – including housing issues, employment barriers, educational needs, mental health problems, financial instability, social stigma, and family reunification – it is clear that a well-planned and collaborative response from a diverse set of agencies and individuals is necessary if successful offender reentry is to be achieved. 

Society Issues The growth in the number of offenders incarcerated and under community supervision, as wellas the failure rate for offenders released from prison, has placed a tremendous burden on the criminal justice system.


Approximately 700,000 offenders are released annually and more than half will return to prison within three years. Many will be rearrested within the first six months after release.  In the United States, the cost of incarceration has grown from $9 billion to more than $60 billion annually over the last twenty years, a figure that does not include the added cost to the courts, prosecutor and public defender offices, or probation and parole.



This ever growing burden on federal and state budgets has resulted in increased interest in the complex challenges of successful offender reentry, encouraging many jurisdictions to reexamine their current policies and practices in the light of escalating costs, limited resources, and particularly, emerging research on methods to reduce recidivism.

 

Recidivism

Research has made clear that punishment-driven approaches alone are not effective in reducing recidivism or preventing future crime. To encourage successful offender reentry and prevent future crime, corrections professionals must address the reasons why offenders become involved in the criminal justice system.

 

Without effective intervention, offenders will leave incarceration facing those same challenges and without the tools necessary to overcome them.

 
Common obstacles to offenders’ success include:

 Education Barriers. More than one-third of offenders in prison have not earned a high school diploma or GED and 4 out of 5 have not received any postsecondary education. While most prisons offer educational classes (e.g., Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education), only a portion of inmates receive these services. In fact, between 2012 and 2014, the number of prisons offering these services decreased.

 Employment Barriers. Furthermore, the lack of job skills, the deterioration of skills while incarcerated (1/3 of offenders receive vocational training while they are incarcerated), intermittent work histories, and the stigma of being in prison make finding legitimate and well-paying employment in the community difficult.

 
Substance Abuse and Addiction. Fifty-three percent (53%) of male state prisoners and 60% of female state prisoners meet the DSM-IV drug dependence or abuse criteria. This is four times the rate of addiction experienced by the general population. Yet only about one in every ten offenders participates in substance abuse programming prior to release.

 
Mental Health Concerns. Mental health problems affect the majority of both male (55%) and female (73%) adults in prison. Women offenders often suffer from depression, anxiety disorders (e.g., PTSD), and eating disorders, while substance abuse and antisocial personality disorders are more prevalent among men.

 
Homelessness. For offenders who may have been homeless prior to incarceration and struggle to find sustainable, affordable housing after release, fewer than ten percent will have the opportunity to live in a halfway house or other community release center.

 
Caring for Children. For the majority of offenders (55%) who have dependent children, reentry brings an increased responsibility for the physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing of others.


Other Survival Concerns. For offenders who are released from prison without the necessary identification (e.g., birth certificate, state issued identification) and transportation options (e.g., personal vehicle, a residence near public bus routes), obtaining appropriate housing, employment, and services can be quite challenging if not impossible.
 

 “This year, some 600,000 inmates will be released from prison back into society. We know from long experience that if they can’t find work, or a home, or help, they are much more likely to commit more crimes and return to prison…. America is the land of the second chance, and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.”

--President George W. Bush, 2004 State of the Union Address

 













































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