Research Paper: Prisons an Analysis

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[. . .] The Department of Justice currently supports faith-based prisoner re-entry programs throughout the United States. Prisoner re-introduction to society programs vary from state to state and county to county, leading to a lack of consistency in program availability, accessibility, quality, and implementation. There are no guidelines or rules by which to administer prisoner re-introduction programs, and no clear mandate for such programs.

Most communities lack comprehensive prisoner re-entry programs. Moreover, prisoner re-entry programs are sporadically designed, developed, and enforced. For reentry strategies to work, they must take into account socio-economic variables, issues like population migration, and the need to stimulate legitimate entrepreneurial activities in communities that are too impoverished to support their members.

Current approaches to protect the public upon a prisoner's release.

Protecting the public upon a prisoner's release is a primary goal that must be considered alongside prisoner re-entry programs. The Department of Justice's Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS, 2006) reveals the ways law enforcement engaged in community policing programs protect the public upon prisoners' release. Most prisoners return to the community in "major counties and cities" with large populations (COPS, 2006). Because of the concentrated numbers of releases in specific areas, there are "opportunities for place-based strategic reentry efforts, including enhanced services and supervision in a given area," (COPS, 2006, p. 10). Working with the residents of the community, law enforcement officials can help citizens to participate in criminal justice by ensuring the safety of their own communities and enabling the organic growth of healthy neighborhoods. Because arrest frequencies are up to 40% higher for re-offenders than for new offenders, law enforcement officials at the community level are playing a role in protecting the public upon prisoners' release whether they realize it or not, and whether the programs are organized or not. To protect the public, law enforcement agencies depend on public trust. Increasing that trust and public perceptions of law enforcement legitimacy are the most significant factors in effective community policing.

Law enforcement is working with policy makers to garner awareness and support for the needs of communities receiving large numbers of released prisoners. Community policing organizations are partnering with local community organizations, which can provide advocacy and outreach services that prevent recidivism. Key among the types of services designed specifically for reentry prisoners include drug rehabilitation, job counseling, and education.

New proposals to help protect the public and ensure that a prison does not re-offend upon release.

An astonishing 67% of American prisoners are rearrested within 3 years of being released (Tecco, 2009). New proposals are clearly needed, to help protect the public and ensure that a prisoner does not reoffend. The recidivism prevention strategy must be comprehensive and include interventions at the level of crime prevention, criminal corrections, and prisoner reentry. Only a comprehensive and multi-pronged strategy can genuinely reduce prisoner recidivism.

Creative sentencing is one way to simultaneously reduce the total number of incarcerated individuals and reduce the rate of recidivism. Prisons are already overcrowded and are presenting a host of ethical issues that are being largely unattended to by lawmakers. Creative sentencing reduces the pressures placed upon prisons, which are not equipped to provide rehabilitation services to the number of prisoners currently in need. Therefore, community-based rehabilitation services are recommended for non-violent offenders. Drug policies need to change, too, and responses to the problems associated with drug trafficking and drug usage must be more informed and sensible. Trafficking foments underground markets and criminal networks, which could be dismantled more readily if there were feasible means by which economically disenfranchised people could participate in the labor market. Communities that are impoverished and underserved breed crime, which is why a prevention strategy must include a comprehensive community improvement policy.

References

Abadinsky, A. (2008). Probation and Parole: Theory and Practice. 10th edition. Prentice Hall. Excerpts online: http://wps.prenhall.com/chet_abadinsky_probation_10/81/20953/5364166.cw/-/5364234/index.html

ACLU (2013). Prison conditions. Retrieved online: http://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/prison-conditions

COPS (2006). Prisoner reentry and community policing. Retrieved online: http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Publications/e12051219.pdf

Dolnick, S. (2013). Pennsylvania Study Finds Halfway Houses Don't Reduce Recidivism. The New York Times. 24 Mar, 2013.

Florida Department of Corrections (n.d.). Academic, vocational, and substance abuse program impacts. Retrieved online: http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/recidivismprog/execsum.html

Human Rights Watch (2013). Prison and detention conditions. Retrieved online: http://www.hrw.org/united-states/us-program/prison-and-detention-conditions

Lynch, J. (n..d). Cruel and unusual: Prisons and prison reform. Colonial Williamsburg. Retrieved online: http://www.history.org/foundation/journal/summer11/prison.cfm

Morris, K. (2010). Programs to reduce recidivism among prison inmates. among prison inmates. Yahoo Voices Retrieved online: http://voices.yahoo.com/programs-reduce-recidivism-among-prison-inmates-7388344.html?cat=17

Tecco, H. (2009). Prison programs take innovative approach to reducing recidivism. Huffington Post. Oct 19, 2013. Retrieved online: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/halle-tecco/prison-programs-take-inno_b_326020.html

United States Department of Justice (2013). Prisoners and prisoner re-entry. Retrieved online: http://www.justice.gov/archive/fbci/progmenu_reentry.html [END OF PREVIEW]

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