According to the 2005 Bureau of Justice Statistics reports, an estimated two-thirds (68 percent) of 405,000 prisoners released in 30 states in 2005 were arrested for a new crime within three years of release from prison, and three-quarters (77 percent) were arrested within five years. My question is “Why?”
The prison experience contributes to recidivism. Inmates in the federal and several state prison systems are randomly screened for illegal drugs, frisked for contraband and often involved in altercations that lead to solitary confinement. In fact if an inmate in the federal prison system becomes pray to a rogue correctional officer they may find themselves in disciplinary segregation for “refusing to obey a direct order,” or another petty infraction. I’ve seen inmates do their utmost to harness violent tendencies only to have it escalate due to unnecessary and quite often prolonged time spent in the SHU (Segregated housing unit). Once inside solitary confinement and will soon be released from prison, they are no longer a concern to anyone who should be assigned to assist with help them reintegrate back into society. So they sit and rot in a tiny cell for 23 hours a day. If he or she is up for parole, the parole board may not sit with them while they are in disciplinary segregation. While at FCI Fairton, at least one third of the inmates I spent time with in the SHU would be released within 2 to 7 years and it wasn’t their first trip inside the jail within a jail.
The communities receiving newly released inmates are unaware that staff members have made decisions for them over a period months, years, and for some, unfortunately, decades. This includes mentally ill men and women who are all to often thrown into prisons as an alternative to mental institutions and treatment centers that have closed and are continuing to close all over the country. The ruthless environment of prison in no way prepares men and women to function upon release in a society where pushing and shoving on subways, crowded shopping centers and other public places are all too common. After all, those actions are completely unacceptable in prison.
Prison consulting with inmates who are returning to society can be equally challenging as coaching someone entering prison, particularly if they have been released from disciplinary segregation, right back into a community. Most are under pressure to find employment or risk violating the terms and condition of parole, probation or supervised release. This may seem relatively simple to some people, but how can a newly released inmate gain employment without his or her ID, social security card, etc.? For example, if they live in New Jersey, they need 6 points of ID when they arrive at the motor vehicles. A birth certificate (with a raised seal), pilot license, US College ID card (with transcript), social security card, mail with their home address (not prison), a debit card are a few examples of documents that contribute towards the 6 points. In order to obtain those documents, time and money are needed to travel and schedule appointments. Most don’t have a clue or financial means to seek necessary counseling, travel in search of employment, health care or seek a higher education. If they don’t have immediate family, they must find a homeless shelter ASAP or return to prison. All felons on parole must have an address. That is one of the many rules tossed at them before they exit the prison gates.
Unfortunately prison has become a social problem. We cannot be determined to fight physical, sexual, drug and alcohol abuse and ignore felons. Why? Most inmates come from homes and communities that fostered deviant sexual, physical, drug and alcohol behaviors. If communities do not invest in education, then tax payers will continue to dig three times deeper into their pockets for granaries to store inmates. If not, the most troubled inmates will rot away along with their possibilities to perhaps become productive members of society. It’s worth a try; after all, statistics have shown that our broken system has failed to invest in education and it’s resulted in welcoming back, then watching inmates return to prison due to a lack of resources; prior to, during and after incarceration.

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