The Prison System: Parole and Re-Entry
Stemming from the war on drugs came three strikes laws and mandatory minimum sentencing. Never in the history of the United States have this many people been incarcerated, but at the same time never have this many people been released from prisons either. Currently, over two million individuals are incarcerated in prisons and jails across the United States, and over three fourths of these people will be released at some point (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/). The justice systems of the United States has been referred to as a revolving door, describing the cycle of so many Americans who are released, reconvicted, and incarcerated. The overcrowding issues in prisons today make it difficult to establish programs to prepare the inmate for release; there is simply not enough funding for these types of programs.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about six hundred thousand inmates are released from prison each year, and roughly two thirds of these individuals will return to prison from either new convictions or parole revocation within the first three years of release. (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/). Many barriers placed on inmates include; criminal records, employment, health care, public assistance, housing, transportation, and voting. Inmates are released from prison with no guidance or help with such issues. As a result, inmates are released into society with little, if any skills to become a functioning member of society.
Clear, Cole, and Reising ( American Corrections, p. 381-382) point out that when incarcerated in the United States, prisoners are released in three different methods. One method used is discretionary release, each state has a parole board which evaluates an inmate when eligible for parole. The amount of elements that are reviewed include the nature of the crime, the inmates behavior while incarcerated, and participation in rehabilitative programs that are made available. When the parole...
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