Can prisoners return to the community as politically, economically, and socially
productive members of society? That is the question that is plaguing many Americans due to overwhelming number of individuals imprisoned in this country. We will examine current rehabilitation programs, the parole system, and the rehabilitation vs. the punishment of inmates. We will also take a look at how US voters feel about the rehabilitation of inmates and expense associated with housing these inmates, in some cases multiple times.
One in a hundred adults is behind bars in the United States, a much higher percentage of the population than is imprisoned in any other country. The United States prison system is growing rapidly thanks to the ineffectiveness of the current prison rehabilitation programs. The U.S. has the largest per capita prison population and a repeat-offender rate of more than 50%. Virtually no systematic, comprehensive attention has been paid by policymakers to dealing with people after release, an issue termed “prisoner reentry.” Failure to address the issue may well backfire, and gains in crime reduction may erode if the cumulative impact of tens of thousands of returning felons on families, crime victims, and communities is not considered. The states and the federal government have allocated increasing shares of their budgets to building and operating prisons. For example, California has built 21 prisons since the mid-1980s and its corrections budget grew from 2 percent of the state’s general fund in 1981 to nearly 8 percent in 2000. While increased dollars have funded operating costs for prisons, they have not gone towards rehabilitation programs. For these reason, many inmates are released from prison uneducated, unable to find work, and in some cases, with the same substance abuse problems that they had when they entered prison.
In some cases rehabilitation service is replaced with parole supervision. Changes in sentencing... [continues]
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