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Gender: Do not display
Current location: New Jersey
Member since: Wed Jul 25, 2012, 12:37 PM
Number of posts: 51

About Me

I am a reasonably intelligent, logical, decent and rational member of the human race. What's not to like? If you want to know something, ask?

Journal Archives

Grad School Student Needs Input on Inmates/Ex-Offenders and their Civil Liberties

Iím a grad school student (Poli Sci, M.A. in Public Policy). My interest is Social Policy. Iíve spent years as a criminal defense paralegal. I recently completed an internship at an organization that fights for the rights of the reentry population (recently released inmates) and they work on initiatives for programs that helps ex-inmates transition back into society.

Inspired by my internship, I have decided to do a paper on recidivism/re-incarceration (getting released from prison and getting incarcerated again). Many former inmates are re-incarcerated not because they actually committed additional crimes, but simply because they violated probation or did not pay child support or some other minor infraction.

During my internship I learned a lot about what ex-convicts are up against as far as employment, housing, etc. Many of these individuals were locked up for minor crimes simply because they lacked the means for good legal representation, the judge was in a "bad mood", they got lost in the system or, dare I say, they were guilty of being a minority in the wrong place at the wrong time.

While there are many inmates that committed the most heinous of crimes, many were merely victims of circumstances and their environment or they committed a minor indiscretion simply because they lacked opportunities to excel and move forward in life. Yes, all crime or acts of immorality are a personal choice, but there are underlying social, economic and other factors that lead a person to it.

Itís no secret (and the U.S. Dept. of Justice can vouch for this) that a ridiculous number of individuals were locked up during America's so-called "War on Drugs", which resulted in the arrest of millions, mostly for small amounts of marijuana. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. In 2008, 1.5 million Americans were arrested for drug offenses. 500,000 people were imprisoned. Most of the incarcerated are black. This not only destroys the life of the individual, but their families as well. It also causes a financial drain on the economy.

Okay, enough said. My concern is what can be done to curb the rate of recidivism in the U.S. Most ex-prisoners are re-incarcerated within one year of release. Any input or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

My main questions are as follows (I'm not eligible to do a poll on here yet!):

Do you think that prison actually ďrehabilitatesĒ criminals?

Do you think that better efforts should be made to prepare inmates for release and reentry while they are incarcerated?

Do you think that better services should be set up to assist the reentry population to transition back into their communities?

Do you think that once a person has served their time that they should be free from laws that inhibit their reentry/citizenship?

Do you think there are laws and regulations currently in place that restricts, limits or bars an ex-prisoner's successful reentry?

Thanks in advance!
Posted by HelenaHandbasket | Wed Jul 25, 2012, 05:29 PM (4 replies)
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