Temika Williams December 9, 2011 Final Paper JUS 510 Contemporary Criminal Justice Issues and Trends Joe Niehaus Dear Colleagues, In order to promote new and “stretch learning” (learning that expands your current knowledge in a given area) in graduate education, I am requesting that you complete and insert the following New Learning Disclosure Statement at the top of the first page of your Final Paper. Thanks.
Joe Niehaus NEW LEARNING DISCLOSURE STATEMENT During the research and preparation of this final paper, I learned the following things I did not know before: 1.Ex-offenders are willing to work but a barrier to employment is what reduces public safety. Some states even bar former prisoners from driving which contribute their ability to obtain and maintain a job. 2. Many ex-prisoners suffer from a greater than average prevalence of severe mental disorders, chronic infectious diseases and substance abuse.
3. In some state, felony convictions result in the loss of certain civil liberties such as voting and serving on a jury. 4. Many states are reexamining their correction policies.
Reducing corrections department budgets and changing sentencing guidelines making early release possible for non-violent offenders to supplement budget shortfalls. 5. People with felony drug convictions dated after 1996 are ineligible to receive Welfare and food stamp benefits. Introduction Reentry planning should ideally start at the onset of incarceration. Although the results of classification and assessment have a great impact on how long an inmate will be incarcerated and the programs, they are eligible to receive while there, they still have a great need for services once they are released.The U.
S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reports that almost two-thirds of offenders who will be released back into their communities are likely to re-offen. Given such high a high percentage, it is clear that services are needed to maintain public safety as well as provide services that give ex-offenders the resources they need to not end up in the percentage that will re-offend. In response to the growing number of offenders being released back into their communities, agencies across all 50 states are attempting to develop the best approaches to offender reentry.This requires concerted efforts among all criminal justice professionals in order to address the impact that returning offenders make.
Many early programs implemented to aid in the transition failed because they were not providing all supports needed. With more studies and feedback from offenders, it is clear that supportive services have to go beyond a helping hand upon release. A comprehensive approach that is individualized and goal motivated should include a complete array of services and supports which will reduce recidivism rates, vitimization, and the heavy cost of the revolving door in and out the system.Rentry shoud address any and all needs to help ex-offenders becomes productive, law abiding citizens. Methodolgy Reentry programs should be implemented for all offenders who need support in order to stabilize themselves as they return to their communities.
Reentry services should include services centered on building relationships in the community, which will foster safety for the public and productiveness for the individual. Programs should use a more cognitive-behavioral approach, which has been shown to reduce the number of re-offences by an average of 10%.This approach teaches new skills through modeling, practice, and reinforcement. An evidence-based program correctly put in place, would offer the most effective tools needed for reintegration into society. Developing correctional programs that increase public safety through reshaping an offender’s behavior as they transition back into their natural environment increases the reduction in recidivism rates.
They also offer offenders the ability to proactively deal with violations of post-release supervision.Facilitating a successful reentry program can lead to better and more functional lives for ex-prisoners, their families, and the communities in which they return. The following core principles of effective correctional interventions embody the characteristics that a program needs to successfully reduce recidivism rates. Results In order to introduce improvements to the reentry model, it is important that the process start at incarceration and go through to release of the offender and beyond.Reentry should take a more holistic for successful community reintegration. This would include release from jail during their pretrial proceedings, release at the time of sentencing, or release after a sentence is served.
Reentry should encompass evaluation, planning, programming conducted, and the support services, which will be implemented to prepare and assist people in returning to their communities with the skills to reintegrate as productive, law-abiding citizens. AssessmentAn overall assessement of needs should be conducted with the offender in order to determine all resources that will be beneficial and available for the offender during incarceration and upon release. The assessment should occur in stateges from the initial entry up until the offender is released. In order for the assessment to be successful, information should be obtained from several sources to include any previous involvement with the corrections system, mental/health care providers, counselors, probation/parole, courts, law enforcement, family, and the offender him/herself.The offender is generally the best resource in the assessment process as they will generally have the ability to state what their needs have been in the past as well as what has and has not worked for him/her. This took will help in the transition process in connecting the offender with much needed services.
Planning Planning with a team of supports and inclusion of the offender will be a cruicial element in the time following an inmate’s release. Needs that have been addressed in the assessment process will be used to help in determining the services available to the offender. Prior to release, the planning rocess will help identify any items needed for the transition to include identification cards, contacts that will assist with issues such as obtaining employment assistance, adequate housing, food, clothing, and shelter. If eligible for any public services, this would be the time to make application for and with the offender. Identifying Identifying is a pivitol step in the transition process that includes locating and contacting specific community partners and making referrals that will be appropriate and effective in the offender gaining access to all services previously discussed.
CoordinatingThe coordinating process will start prior to the offender being released but continue with an outside support, such as a community case manager, who will assist the offender in scheduling needed appointments, coordinating transportation, locate support groups, and anything else that will ensure the ex-offender is receiving needed individual and family services which adeqadequately support their goals. Assessment, planning, identifying, and coordinating combine to create a reentry initiative, which begins at the arrest and continues throughout an offender’s transiton and stabilization in the community setting.Phase one—Protect and Prepare, which is an institution-based program, is designed to prepare offenders to reenter society. Services provided in this phase will include education, mental health and substance abuse treatment, job training, budgeting, mentoring, and full diagnostic and risk assessment. Skills learned during this phase should help as the offender exits the correctional facility. Phase two—Control and Restore is a community-based transitional program, which work with offenders before and immediately following their release from correctional institutions.
Services provided in this phase will include, as appropriate, education, monitoring, mentoring, life skills training, assessment, job skills development, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. Phase 3—Sustain and Support, a community-based long-term support programs connects individuals who have left the supervision of the justice system with a network of social services agencies and community-based organizations to provide ongoing services and mentoring relationships.Examples of potential program elements include institution-based readiness programs, institutional and community assessment centers, reentry courts, supervised or electronically monitored boarding houses, mentoring programs, and community corrections centers. Discussion Statistics indicate that at least 92% of all incarcerated persons will be eligible for release over the next decade.
Out of this number, it is estimates that up to 75% of these people will re-offend within three years of their release, going back into prisons and jails.The reson for this high recidivism rate can be attributed to the lack of effective programs that address all the issues ex-offenders have to deal with including that of simply being able to provide for their own basic needs to include housing, food, clothing, and shelter. Many have to content with mental health issues that may or may not have been addressed while incarcerated, this compounded with health concerns, family, and obtaining employment, meeting probation/parole expectations, paying child support, and the stigma of being an exconvict can be overwhelming.Effective reentry programs should address all these issue in order to ensure the successful reintegration back into society. Adequate reentry programs that tend to educational, mental health and job training needs have been proven to reduce recidivism rates.
With law changes that exclude felony offenders from receiving public benefits, all these services are, a must to help create self-relient individuals that can become productive members of society. It is a well-known fact that there are few employers that offer jobs to ex-offenders, fair living wages with benefits is virtually impossible to obtain.Working with local agencies to gain tax breaks and offer them incentatives to hire ex-offenders may increase their chances of obtaining decent, stable employment. The ability to financially support ones self and having a connection to the community one lives in would decrease the need to re-offend. The key to success is equipping communites as well as offenders with supports to sustain these goals.
It is unimaginable in this day and time that people would think that just because someone has committed a crime, they are a bad, undeserving person.We can create stability and safety in our communities by starting with aiding ex-offenders with the tools they need to succeed in life. Conclusion Although it could be disputed that allowing offenders back into society is a good idea, they deserve a second chance to get it right. With so many individuals serving time, the correctional system has to find a way to help offenders in a more cost effective way. The time for offenders serving full sentences have come to an end due to the financial strain that it is putting on the system, reentry programs are a better way to create movement and change for both causes.
Offenders need assistance to regain independence when leaving the jail and prison system. Whatever the situation is that led, those into a life of crime should not mean that their life is over. The difficulties that offenders face in obtaining employment, housing, and health care upon release make a life of crime seem like the only way to get ahead in but this is what leads ex-offenders to reoffend. The answer to these problems can be answered through positive, well-run reentry programs that include all type of community partners such as local employers, churches, human service organizations, courts, and family supports.Even though reducing the rate of recidivism is the ultimate goal in rentry programs, we have to create change in ex-offenders lives to see the true results. While it is true that successful re-entry can be measured in, more ways that just avoiding recidivism, such avoidance must be a core component given the nature of the population.
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