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NCJ Number: 205088 Find in a Library
Title: Beating the Perpetual Incarceration Machine: Overcoming Structural Impediments to Re-entry (From After Crime and Punishment: Pathways to Offender Reintegration, P 201-232, 2004, Shadd Maruna and Russ Immarigeon, eds. -- See NCJ-205080)
Author(s): Stephen C. Richards; Richard S. Jones
Date Published: 2004
Page Count: 32
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study addressed why so many ex-inmates are rearrested and reincarcerated; the social-structural variables, impediments, and obstacles that contribute to recidivism; and how ex-inmates can beat "the perpetual incarceration machine."
Abstract: The 2 researchers, who were themselves ex-inmates, interviewed 30 male prisoners upon their release from an Iowa prison, following them from the prison gates to their designated correctional halfway houses. All of the men were convicted felons who had served more than 1 year in prison. Most were found to be recidivists who had served more than one prison term. Interviews were conducted on-site in person. A number of men were interviewed twice, and several group interviews were also conducted. Without exception, the ex-inmates were eager to discuss prisons, prison release, and their future plans. Interviews with correctional staff provided background information on both prison-release and work-release programs. Contradictory or conflicting information was compared through inmate and staff responses. The inmates were released from prison to work release with $5 "gate money," a bus ticket, and $50 release money from which the cost of their "prison blues" was deducted. The men walked out of prison wearing old, worn-out prison uniforms, carrying a cardboard box that contained their personal belongings. Upon arrival at the work-release center, most of them were "broke" until either their family arrived to provide them "walk around money" or their prison account money was delivered by mail, which took a few weeks or longer. Many of them received loans from the work-release center to carry them over while they looked for work, waited for their first pay check, or pursued alternative means to secure money. The inmates were released to work-release or parole with little preparation linked to parole success. Over 50 percent of the men will fail work-release, and nearly 70 percent will fail parole and eventually return to prison. Work-release inmates need a carefully planned "staged release program" that takes into account the practical financial and social difficulties associated with forging a new life in the community after living under prison conditions for an extended period. The work-release centers must identify the obstacles to successful employment after release and communicate with prison executives and policymakers about what prison programs can do to prepare inmates for the work-release experience. Prerelease programs should include expanded visitation privileges, home furloughs, and family and employment counseling. The prerelease programs should arrange for the inmates to have driver's licenses and social security cards before leaving prison. Inmates with outstanding consumer or tax debt should receive legal counseling on filing for bankruptcy, and they should be provided with clothes appropriate for their employment search and sufficient "gate money" to meet their needs for at least 90 days. All inmates should have a detailed prerelease plan prepared while on community furloughs prior to release. Inmate debts increase while in prison due to public defender fees assessed and restitution orders. A study should be conducted to determine whether these financial obligations laid on ex-inmates may contribute to increased parole violations, recidivism, and subsequent incarcerations. 58 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Economic influences; Halfway houses; Iowa; Parole effectiveness; Post-release programs; Prerelease programs; Recidivism causes; Social conditions; Social reintegration; Work release
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