When prisoners return to communities.
Petersilia, Joan, U California, Irvine, CA, US
Federal Probation, Vol 65(1), Jun, 2001. pp. 3-8.
US: Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
parole release; trends; parole supervision; politics; economics; social consequences; prison inmates; juvenile delinquents
Nearly 600,000 inmates arrive on the doorsteps of communities throughout the country each year, released from state and federal prisons and secure juvenile facilities. The issue of how to deal with "prisoner reentry" into the community is becoming a hot one, due to the cumulative impact of these hitherto unprecedented numbers, following upon years of huge incarceration rates. Petersilia points out the parole supervision issues raised by this situation, especially when it is compounded by reduced money for rehabilitation programs that might help offenders stay out of prison. Focus is on political, economic, and social consequences of parole release. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
*Economics; *Parole; *Politics; *Psychosocial Factors; *Social Influences; Juvenile Delinquency; Prisoners; Trends
Criminal Law & Adjudication (4230)
IN 1999, STATE prisons admitted about 591,000 prisoners and released almost the same number--about 538,000. If federal prisoners and those released from secure juvenile facilities are included, nearly 600,000 inmates arrive on the doorsteps of communities throughout the country each year.
Virtually no systematic, comprehensive attention has been paid by policymakers to dealing with people after they are released, an issue that has been termed "prisoner reentry." Failure to do so may well backfire, and the crime reduction gains made in recent years erode, unless we consider the cumulative impact of tens of thousands of returning felons on families, children, and communities. In particular, failure to pay attention to parole services is unfortunate, since most inmates, at the point of release, have an initial strong desire to succeed.
Of course, inmates have always been released from prison, and officials have long struggled with how to help them succeed. But the current situation is different. The numbers dwarf anything in our history, the needs of parolees are more serious, and the corrections system retains few rehabilitation programs.
A number of unfortunate collateral consequences are likely, including increases in child abuse, family violence, the spread of infectious diseases, homelessness, and community disorganization. And with 1.3 million prisoners, many more people have real-life knowledge of the prison experience. Being incarcerated is becoming almost a normal experience for people in some communities. This phenomenon may affect the socialization of young people, the ability of prison sentences to scare and deter, and the future trajectory of crime rates and crime victimization.
Parole in the U.S.-Managing More People, Managing Them Less Well Changes in sentencing practices, coupled with a decrease in availability of rehabilitation programs, have placed new demands on the parole system. Support and funding have declined, resulting in dangerously high caseloads. Parolees sometimes abscond from supervision, often without consequence. Not surprisingly, most parolees fail to lead law-abiding lives and are rearrested.
Determinate Sentencing Means Automatic Release
Parole in the United States has changed dramatically since the mid-1970s, when most inmates served open-ended indeterminate prison terms--10 years to life, for example--and a parole board, usually appointed by the governor, had wide discretion to release inmates or keep them behind bars. In principle, offenders were paroled only if they were rehabilitated and had ties to the community--such as a...
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