Prisoner Reentry Programs: Penetrating the Black Box for Better Theory and Practice

Prisoner Reentry Programs: Penetrating the Black Box for Better Theory and Practice

Prisoner Reentry Programs: Penetrating the Black Box for Better Theory and Practice

Prisoner Reentry Programs: Penetrating the Black Box for Better Theory and Practice

Synopsis

Upon release from prison, individuals must manage a complex mix of interrelated challenges. Housing, employment, and substance abuse treatment have been identified as three of the most pressing dimensions of prisoner reentry. Grommon explores how these challenges interact and affect levels of relapse and recidivism. Housing and employment are important antecedents that shape participation in substance abuse treatment and relapse. In turn, these initial effects directly or indirectly influence recidivism. The findings highlight the need to further explore reentry challenges and lead to a number of theoretical, methodological, and policy implications.

Excerpt

The reentry movement is largely a response to the challenges of mass incarceration and its emphasis on individualized accountability, incapacitation, and surveillance (Clear, 2007; Feely &; Simon, 1992; MacKenzie, 2006; Useem &; Piehl, 2008). It is the realization that punitive “;get tough”; crime control efforts have been unable to produce evidence of sustained effectiveness in curtailing future criminal behavior at the individual level of analysis. It is also the acknowledgement that the pendulum between the philosophical orientations underlying correctional policy and practice is beginning to shift towards rehabilitative or blended rehabilitative-control efforts (Byrne, 2004; Byrne, 2008; Byrne &; Taxman, 2005). Beyond philosophical orientations, the logic of the reentry movement is closely interrelated with three problematic trends that have received substantial amount of focus from correctional administrators, practitioners, and academics in recent years: the growing prisoner population, the relatively stable rate of recidivism, and the individualized process of transition into the community.

Correctional systems are managing populations of prisoners and individuals under community supervision whose vast numbers have never before been seen (Petersilia, 2003). There were approximately 1.4 million individuals under state correctional authority in 2009, a figure which represents three times the number of those held twenty years ago (West, Sabol, &; Greenman, 2010). One in every 100 adults was incarcerated at least once in 2008 (Pew Center, 2008). At the same time, over 630,000 individuals will be released from correctional institutions and returned to local communities each year (Mears et al., 2008; Pew Center, 2008). the number of individuals currently released . . .

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