PAM 230 Group Project

PAM 230 Group Project - Background Attorney General Janet...

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Background: Attorney General Janet Reno said in 2000 that prisoner reentry is “one of the most pressing problems we face as a nation.” Since the year 2000, however, the problem has not improved, a national study showed that in 2005, 3 years after 600,000 prisoners departed from state and federal prisons, almost 70% of these prisoners were rearrested and almost 50% reentered prison. These rates are a result of the prisoner’s committing another crime or infringing the requirements of their release. i However, recidivism is not limited to adult offenders, Juveniles have recidivism rates as high as 55 percent across the country and in New York. ii Adult and juvenile recidivism is a problem for the communities in which the prisoners attempt to transition into as well as for the criminal justice system. SVORI (Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative) programs have been created in an attempt to lower recidivism rates, and increase the employment, housing, and health of released prisoners who participate. iii Reentry programs, which are three-phased initiatives begun in prison, are intended to assist offenders in acquiring the life skills needed to succeed in the community and become law-abiding citizens. The three phases consist of Institution-Based Programs which the Department of Justice calls “Protect and Prepare” These programs are supposed to prepare offenders for their reentry into society and include education, mental health and substance abuse treatment, job training, mentoring and risk assessment. The second phase consists of community-based transition programs which the Department of Justice refers to as “Control and Restore” These programs are supposed to work with offenders just prior to and immediately after their release into society. This phase includes more prisoner specific measures including education, monitoring, life-skills training, assessment, job-skills development, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. The third and final phase consists of Community-Based Long-Term Support Programs which the government refers to as “Sustain and Support,” these programs are supposed to connect the former prisoners to other social service agencies and make them completely independent of the justice system. iv It is worth noting however that these are the department of Justice’s recommendations for Prisoner Reentry and that not all state departments of Correction adhere to these guidelines, this fact contributes to the lack of success for reentry programs in some states and for success in others. Policy Problem: Do offender re-entry programs decrease recidivism rates among violent offenders while aiding long term rehabilitation? Analysts Problem: To determine whether or not offender re-entry programs have an effect on recidivism rates for violent offenders. If reentry programs are effective, what is the best method
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of implementation. How effective have re-entry programs been in reducing recidivism rates among violent offenders in states where the programs has already been implemented? To
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