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Problems Inmates Face Reentering Society and High Recidivism Rates


In 2009, 5,018,855 offenders were released from prison under some sort of community supervision. Of these, 819,308 were released on parole, meaning they had served an allotted amount of time in prison and were to complete the rest of their sentence outside of a correctional facility. However, 14% of this population returned to prison in 2009. This places an economic burden on both state and federal correctional systems, which are already buckling under the pressure of budget cuts brought about by the recent economic collapse. Therefore, it is imperative to identify the external factors that influence the rate of recidivism among parolees to alleviate the financial burden that re-incarceration incurs to both the state and federal governments as well as taxpayers. A careful analysis of the recidivism rate of offenders in Ohio released on parole indicates that race, poverty, female-headed households, and availability of manufacturing jobs show strong predictability of re-incarceration. Thus, changes in rehabilitation focus to prepare prisoners to better cope with the environment into which they are released has potential to decrease the recidivism rate and ultimately help both state and federal corrections departments meet budgetary constraints.

Problems Inmates Face Reentering Society and High Recidivism Rates


During 2009, the number of individuals released from prison into some sort of community control totaled 5,018, 855 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010). This number encompasses both offenders released on probation and on parole. While the number of offenders in the federal parole population increased by 5,232 in 2009, state parole populations saw a decrease of 10,758. Furthermore, the rate of re-incarceration of parolees decreased from 15% in 2006 to 14% in 2009 (ibid). These numbers are incredibly significant because they demonstrate that, as the United States was experiencing one of the worst economic declines in recent history over five million convicted felons were re-entering the workforce with hopes of finding jobs to support themselves financially.

In addition to the pressure placed on parolees by the floundering economy, the financial collapse also placed extreme amounts of strain on all forms of government programs, including the federal and state prison systems. In March of 2010 the California Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections was forced begin efforts to release 6,500 prisoners within the year to reduce overcrowding and conserve funding. In recent years, with prison overcrowding across the country reaching levels disturbingly close to earning the label of “cruel and unusual punishment”, many prison systems looked to parole as a means of reducing overcrowding and saving the money that would be used to house the prisoners within correctional facilities (Siegel, 2011). The high probability of parolee re-incarceration essentially means that the system must again spend money housing and feeding the very offenders they had previously released in an effort to fit budget constraints. Therefore it is crucial to understand what external factors most often cause parolees to re-enter the prison system in an effort to reduce the financial burden their re-incarceration places on both state and federal ...
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