Contemporary Criminal Justice Issues and Trends

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Temika Williams

December 9, 2011

Final Paper

JUS 510 Contemporary Criminal Justice Issues and Trends

Joe Niehaus

Dear Colleagues,

In order to promote new and “stretch learning” (learning that expands your current knowledge in a given area) in graduate education, I am requesting that you complete and insert the following New Learning Disclosure Statement at the top of the first page of your Final Paper. Thanks.

Joe Niehaus
During the research and preparation of this final paper, I learned the following things I did not know before: 1. Ex-offenders are willing to work but a barrier to employment is what reduces public safety. Some states even bar former prisoners from driving which contribute their ability to obtain and maintain a job. 2. Many ex-prisoners suffer from a greater than average prevalence of severe mental disorders, chronic infectious diseases and substance abuse. 3. In some state, felony convictions result in the loss of certain civil liberties such as voting and serving on a jury. 4. Many states are reexamining their correction policies. Reducing corrections department budgets and changing sentencing guidelines making early release possible for non-violent offenders to supplement budget shortfalls. 5. People with felony drug convictions dated after 1996 are ineligible to receive Welfare and food stamp benefits.

Reentry planning should ideally start at the onset of incarceration. Although the results of classification and assessment have a great impact on how long an inmate will be incarcerated and the programs, they are eligible to receive while there, they still have a great need for services once they are released. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reports that almost two-thirds of offenders who will be released back into their communities are likely to re-offen. Given such high a high percentage, it is clear that services are needed to maintain public safety as well as provide services that give ex-offenders the resources they need to not end up in the percentage that will re-offend. In response to the growing number of offenders being released back into their communities, agencies across all 50 states are attempting to develop the best approaches to offender reentry. This requires concerted efforts among all criminal justice professionals in order to address the impact that returning offenders make. Many early programs implemented to aid in the transition failed because they were not providing all supports needed. With more studies and feedback from offenders, it is clear that supportive services have to go beyond a helping hand upon release. A comprehensive approach that is individualized and goal motivated should include a complete array of services and supports which will reduce recidivism rates, vitimization, and the heavy cost of the revolving door in and out the system. Rentry shoud address any and all needs to help ex-offenders becomes productive, law abiding citizens. Methodolgy

Reentry programs should be implemented for all offenders who need support in order to stabilize themselves as they return to their communities. Reentry services should include services centered on building relationships in the community, which will foster safety for the public and productiveness for the individual. Programs should use a more cognitive-behavioral approach, which has been shown to reduce the number of re-offences by an average of 10%. This approach teaches new skills through modeling, practice, and reinforcement. An evidence-based program correctly put in place, would offer the most effective tools needed for reintegration into society. Developing correctional programs that increase public safety through reshaping an offender’s behavior as they transition back into their natural environment increases the reduction in recidivism rates. They also offer offenders the ability to proactively deal with violations of post-release...
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