Re-entry: Prison and Reentry Programs

Table of Content

Each day, many people are imprisoned as criminals and face a range of difficulties once they are released. These difficulties include finding housing, looking for employment, and dealing with substance abuse issues. It is common for former convicts to return to their previous criminal activities after being released. To prevent this from happening, correctional facility staff implement a reentry program for inmates while they are still incarcerated. After the prisoner is discharged from prison, the reentry program helps them reintegrate into society successfully.

Community-based initiatives have been put in place with the aim of preventing offenders from committing more crimes and helping them reintegrate successfully into society. These programs primarily focus on reducing recidivism, which refers to an offender’s repeated arrest, conviction, or imprisonment after being released from prison. To address the concerning rates of recidivism, many communities have developed reentry programs that provide support to former prisoners in finding employment and housing while addressing challenges such as alcohol and substance abuse dependencies and mental health problems. The provision of housing assistance for individuals who were previously incarcerated continues to be a major issue.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

The ex-offender encounters the difficulty of locating suitable housing. While some offenders have the option to reside with their families, others may lack a positive rapport with them. Additionally, certain offenders’ families have lost trust in them and prefer not to have them present. This is where reentry becomes crucial. Reentry programs provide opportunities for offenders to dwell in halfway houses that guarantee their safety. In specific cases, these individuals residing in such houses must contribute rent as a component of their gradual assimilation back into society.

Half-way houses have certain rules for residents, such as returning to the half-way house by a designated time and participating in a twelve-step program. Residents must sign out when leaving the premises and sign back in upon return. Any absences from the half-way house require approval from the house manager. Furthermore, residents must maintain full-time employment while living in the half-way house, which requires authorization and periodic monitoring for compliance.

Bars or clubs with alcohol sales impose employment and entry restrictions, requiring visitors to obtain advance authorization. While regulations may vary, the purpose of these rules is not punitive but rather supportive. These rules aim to educate wrongdoers about permissible actions and limitations while upholding community safety by allowing the house manager to monitor offender activities and whereabouts daily.

Offenders must undergo random drug and alcohol testing. All medications, whether prescribed or over-the-counter, need to be stored securely and administered by the house manager as per packaging instructions. The offender is in a state similar to incarceration but with some restrictions. Guidelines are in place to ensure understanding of limitations and responsibilities. Non-compliance may lead to expulsion.

Half-way houses provide guidelines for individuals who have committed offenses to follow during their reintegration into society. They also offer programs to address drug and/or alcohol dependency as part of the reentry process. Various evidence-backed strategies, including behavioral therapy, medication, or a combination of both, are available for treating substance addiction. Short-Term Residential Programs adopt an intensive residential treatment approach based on a modified 12-step program.

Originally designed for alcohol-related problems, these programs were later extended to cover treatment for illicit drug abuse and addiction during the cocaine outbreak in the mid-1980s. Initially, patients would undergo a 3 to 6-week hospital-based inpatient phase, followed by outpatient therapy and involvement in support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. However, due to decreased health care coverage for substance abuse treatment, the number of these programs has decreased and the duration of treatment under managed care review is now considerably shorter compared to earlier programs.

Drug or alcohol abusers frequently enter the criminal justice system prior to seeking help from other health or social systems. The criminal justice system can play a crucial role in intervening and directing individuals towards treatment, which may disrupt and shorten their drug use habits. Treatment for individuals involved in drugs or addiction within the criminal justice system can be offered before, during, after, or instead of incarceration. Finding employment is a major obstacle for former offenders, particularly due to a struggling economy that impacts opportunities for everyone in society.

Prisoners are usually obligated to participate in work programs while they are incarcerated. Unlike rehabilitation-focused programs such as counseling, prison work programs serve multiple purposes. According to policymakers in the criminal justice system, these programs assist in controlling the prison population by keeping inmates busy, contribute to the efficient operation of the prison facility, potentially generate income, and provide a way for prisoners to make restitution to society. As a result, almost every prison provides some type of work program for at least some of its prisoners.

Although these goals may not directly contradict the goal of rehabilitation, they also may not actively contribute to it. The connection between making lunch for fellow inmates and preparing an inmate for employment after prison is uncertain. As a result, work programs possess both positive and negative aspects. Both on-site and community-based jobs have long been common within prisons. Nevertheless, former prisoners face numerous obstacles in their quest to obtain employment.

Challenges faced by post-incarcerated individuals stem mainly from their flawed criminal record; even an arrest for a felony without a conviction continues to be listed on their criminal record and can hinder job opportunities. Consequently, most individuals seeking employment after completing their felony sentence are consistently facing punishment. Legally, employers are not obliged to individually assess and inquire; they can reject applicants solely based on their criminal record.

Employers conduct background checks for various purposes, including compliance with legal restrictions in specific industries. These restrictions prohibit individuals with felony convictions from obtaining the necessary licenses to work in professions like accounting, ambulance driving, law, hairdressing, contracting, nursing, medicine, pharmacy, real estate, and teaching.

In addition, individuals with a felony record may be unable to join the Armed Forces. Moreover, employers are incorrectly assuming that having no criminal record signifies good moral character. As a result, job opportunities for many people hinge on whether or not employers conduct criminal background checks. Luckily, expungement offers a solution to fight against hiring discrimination by securely sealing or erasing the criminal records of rehabilitated individuals.

To pursue an expungement, individuals must present substantial evidence of their readiness to reintegrate into society and make beneficial contributions. Expungement provides hope for those who experience discrimination based on their criminal records since sealed expunged records are inaccessible to the public. In numerous states, individuals with expunged records can deny the presence of their criminal history. Generally, expungement applies to various entities such as the court, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Sheriff’s Office, and Police Department.

Ex-offenders face various obstacles in securing employment. One difficulty is the loss of job skills and limited chances to gain work experience while in prison. Additionally, there has been a decline in available job-training programs within prisons. Many former inmates have low education levels, lack work experience, and encounter health problems and other personal characteristics that hinder their job search. Another challenge ex-prisoners may confront when seeking employment post-release is having tattoos obtained during their incarceration.

Employers are often reluctant to hire someone with visible face tattoos, especially those obtained during their time in prison. While these tattoos may be considered fashionable in prison, they can present issues once individuals reenter society. Employers may find these tattoos offensive or distracting and may hesitate to hire individuals covered in gang symbols and tear drops, as it could potentially intimidate customers. The negative associations linked to tattoos will eventually fade away, but it will require some time.

There will always be a stigma attached to tattoos as long as they are associated with criminal or negative behavior. Even those who get tattoos for self-expression may unfairly face judgment and labeling. Moreover, prisoners dealing with mental illnesses encounter additional difficulties. Many prisoners, who were previously seen as “normal” in society, have a higher likelihood of developing mental illnesses during their time in prison.

Major depression is a significant illness that affects certain prisoners. It is characterized by the presence of five or more symptoms of depression for at least 2 weeks, including feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and pessimism. Additionally, individuals with major depression often show alterations in behavior such as disruptions in their eating and sleeping patterns. Neglecting to address this condition puts prisoners’ lives at risk as it increases their likelihood of committing suicide. The rate of suicide in correctional facilities exceeds that of the general population and continues to be the main cause of death among incarcerated individuals.

The factors associated with suicides in prisons include the security level of the facility, the nature of the offense committed, and the duration of incarceration. Inmates who engage in suicide often suffer from depression, despair, mental disorders, or have previously exhibited suicidal ideation or actions. It is crucial to improve intervention and treatment approaches to effectively tackle these problems.

While researchers have created theoretical profiles of typical suicidal behavior among inmates, merely having a profile is insufficient for corrections staff to accurately distinguish between inmates with and without suicidal tendencies. To gain a better understanding of how personal characteristics and the prison environment impact suicidal behavior, there is a necessity for enhanced communication and information reporting. Suicidal intentions can be heightened by various risk factors associated with either imprisonment conditions or an individual’s personal history.

Some factors that contribute to suicide in correctional facilities include an individual’s perspective on incarceration, the impact of incarceration, the conditions within the facility, personal background, current familial or life situation, the circumstances of one’s imprisonment, and racial factors. Correctional institutions have implemented primary and secondary prevention measures to decrease the rate of suicide. However, suicide prevention is not given much importance in these institutions, despite their efforts. Additionally, they develop intervention programs in correctional settings.

The effectiveness of intervention programs depends on accurately communicating pertinent information about the suicidal prisoners’ past or recent behavior. By considering the specific details of each case, an appropriate method of intervention can be determined for each individual prisoner. Suicide treatment programs have been ineffective as they solely rely on doctors and medication to address the issue. However, it is now understood that the environment and the provision of stress-relieving activities play a crucial role in addressing suicide.

The responsibility for addressing the issue of suicide must be acknowledged as shared among staff, medical and psychiatric personnel, family and friends, and fellow inmates. Currently, only a limited number of correctional facilities have achieved consistent and effective detection and intervention in cases of inmate suicidal behavior. Despite further potential efforts, it is crucial to recognize that prisons and jails are extremely harsh environments that some individuals are unable to handle. Once every possible prevention and intervention within the limitations of the environment have been pursued, it becomes necessary to reflect on the nature of prison itself.

Maybe the answer to preventing inmate suicides lies in the more selective and suitable use of imprisonment. This could involve keeping less severe offenders in the community and utilizing mental health institutions more effectively for those inmates with mental health issues. Upon returning to society, former prisoners often grapple with their mental illnesses, if diagnosed with any. A majority of released prisoners lack health insurance, which presents the challenge of independently seeking treatment for their conditions. However, during incarceration, inmates receive assessments from healthcare experts at minimal or no cost whatsoever.

Even after leaving prison, people with mental illness may face challenges in accessing necessary medication. Moreover, as they reintegrate into society, they confront a lack of support and widespread fear. The stigma surrounding mental illness persists throughout America, irrespective of cultural background, gender, or location. These individuals are unfairly feared and avoided due to the perception that they might be prone to violence. It is essential for society to recognize that psychological disorders are valid medical conditions.

Diagnosing and treating mental illness can lead to high rates of success. Living with a mental illness can cause fear and confusion, leading to disorientation. Without help, those with mental illness often become unemployed and homeless. It is important for us to guide them towards mental health in order to ethically prevent their return to the prison system or their hiding within society’s shadows.

The current incarceration rate is increasing, with approximately 1 million individuals currently in prisons and jails – about one out of every 150 Americans. Consequently, more Americans are returning to their communities after serving time in prison; around 500,000 individuals are released from state prisons each year nationwide. While some offenders successfully reintegrate by being accepted back into their families, finding employment opportunities, and receiving support from networks that aid them in becoming law-abiding citizens while restoring their community status.

The process of reintegrating offenders can be difficult for many individuals. Families may not be willing to accept them back, finding employment may be challenging, and old peer groups may encourage a return to criminal habits and substance abuse. These circumstances often lead to a relapse into criminal behavior and repeated offenses (Reentry Courts).

In addition to these challenges, reentry initiatives can also be costly. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has funded multiple long-term evaluations and studies since 2003 to improve our understanding of reentry and enhance related policies. One ongoing study is the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI), a collaborative federal effort. SVORI aims to improve reentry outcomes in areas such as criminal justice, employment, education, health, and housing. Over $100 million has been allocated to sixty-nine sites for the development or expansion of programs that provide integrated supervision and services to offenders.

The purpose of SVORI is to encourage released offenders to take on productive roles in society and decrease their chances of committing crimes and being incarcerated again. This initiative involves a collaborative approach between multiple agencies in order to successfully transition prisoners from correctional institutions to the community. In order to evaluate the overall effectiveness of SVORI, NIJ granted Research Triangle Institute International (RTI) and its subcontractor, the Urban Institute, with funding to conduct an evaluation of SVORI at 69 grantee sites.

The evaluation consists of an implementation assessment in all 69 sites, an impact evaluation in around 15 sites, and an economic analysis. The first phase of the project, which took place from May 1, 2003, to April 30, 2004, focused on developing and implementing the evaluation design. Phase 2, which started on June 1, 2004, and will end in May 2008, is dedicated to conducting the implementation assessment, impact evaluation, and economic analysis, as well as reporting the results of these analyses (NIJ Evaluation). According to our findings, jail-based reentry programs would need to reduce recidivism by less than two percent in order to offset the cost of implementing such programs. In other words, reentry programs for jail-based inmates produce benefits that are significant enough to cover the investment costs with only a slight decrease in crime. However, policymakers should not expect to see the benefits of reduced recidivism reflected in their local jail budgets necessarily. Generally speaking, even small reductions in crime yield substantial benefits for the public.

According to John Roman (2006), public agencies also experience advantages from decreased crime, although the benefits are not as substantial as those experienced by the public. The process of planning and supporting a successful return to community living for individuals who have served time in prison can be intricate. It involves more than just corrections agencies and requires the collaboration of various public and private agencies. None of these agencies, however, are solely responsible for the entire process. Ultimately, the successful reintegration of inmates into society relies on the efforts of multiple state and local agencies.

No one agency can achieve this objective. Assessments of reentry programs show that certain programs decrease the rate of repeat offenses and enhance the success of offenders in reintegrating into society. Vocational training and work programs, for instance, seem to lower recidivism rates by enhancing employment skills, while drug rehabilitation and halfway house programs can facilitate the transition from prison to the community. The lives of those who frequently cycle in and out of prison are typically marked by instability.

Substance addiction, job and housing instability, mental illness, and various health problems are the everyday realities facing a significant portion of this population. Jails lack the time and resources to address offenders who are only staying for a brief period. Additionally, there is no single organization or political figure in the community who is responsible for and held accountable for improving reentry outcomes. Jail administrators used to be able to claim ignorance or respond with “not my job” when questioned about how they assist inmates in transitioning from confinement to the community, but that is no longer acceptable.

Their operational directives were care, custody, and control, and their chief priorities were providing timely and accurate intakes, transports, and discharge of inmates. Over time, leading practitioners in the field have recognized the importance of jail reentry programs and strategies in ensuring public safety and community wellbeing. Acknowledging that they cannot tackle this challenge alone, many jails are now partnering with community-based organizations that possess the necessary expertise, commitment, and capacity to effectively work with this population.

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition among policy makers and practitioners of the importance of research in determining effective correctional programming. The use of evidence-based practices to inform program implementation decisions has increased significantly. This shift towards using research as the basis for criminal justice practice has been long awaited. In the city of San Diego, a program called Family TIES was developed to aid in the reentry process. Family TIES is a collaborative effort between the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and three community-based organizations. It provides life skills development services to male and female detainees who are expected to be released back into the community. The program includes various components such as pre-employment skills, substance abuse intervention, parenting and healthy relationships, domestic violence treatment, and an enrichment class for literacy and reading skills. The goal of the project was to provide in-custody services to nearly 1,000 inmates between October 1, 2003 and September 30, 2006.

The Criminal Justice Research Division received around $120,000 to perform both a process evaluation and an impact evaluation of the Family TIES project. SANDAG conducted the process evaluation to assess whether the project was implemented according to its design, and the impact evaluation to determine if the expected positive effects of the project were achieved. Various data sources were used, including client and program staff interviews, standardized assessments, knowledge tests, criminal histories, case studies, and follow-up interviews with clients. “I believe there should be similar programs implemented in every community.”(Sandag).

The advantage of this exceeds the expense. Such a program aims to educate individuals on appropriate societal behavior and help them become productive citizens. A program like this provides abundant information and resources for former offenders. Prisoner re-entry carries immense significance in current times, yet its full impact on the thoughts and lives of voters is still developing. Nonetheless, each year highlights the increasing importance of this subject. Since the 1980s, there has been mounting pressure for stricter and lengthier incarceration along with more streamlined mandatory sentencing guidelines.

The prison population has grown exponentially along with a rise in the number of prisoners being released back into communities. Moreover, stricter punishment measures have led to a decline in educational and rehabilitation resources within prisons. As a result, reintegrating back into society becomes more challenging for released prisoners, leading to higher rates of reoffending and escalating violence with each cycle of release and re-arrest. Nonetheless, simply providing funding to private, religious, or state-run programs is insufficient.

Without support from their communities and systems, prisoners will not have access to increased re-entry programs or preparation. It is essential to establish nationwide standards to ensure that every prisoner eligible for re-release is equipped to avoid reoffending and become a productive member of society. The prison population is rapidly increasing, posing numerous challenges for individuals reintegrating into society.

This is a challenging time for ex-offenders, often leading to unexpected outcomes. Transitioning from prison to society can bring about confusion and a range of emotions. It is now their own responsibility to ensure they succeed in life and avoid repeating past mistakes. The initial step in this journey is creating a plan. Ex-prisoners come home with numerous ambitions and aspirations that they believe they can achieve.

They may have aspirations of starting their own business, reminiscing about their desire to graduate from school, or yearning to reconnect with loved ones. The prison environment often instills a sense of urgency in these individuals. To avoid potential frustration, it is advisable to initially focus on short-term goals, as long-term goals may be more challenging to attain. Fortunately, there are numerous programs available to aid their journey towards achieving these objectives. These include mentoring programs, colleges, business development programs, and various non-profit organizations.

The prisoner has the power to lead themselves down the wrong path and end up back where they started. It is their duty to take control of their own actions. Parole and probation officers are present to offer guidance as they strive for a fresh start. They are not there to make their lives difficult, but to assist them in adapting and making the correct choices. The prisoners have complete control over their freedom. The process of reintegrating prisoners into society is a challenging and seemingly insurmountable task. Offenders on probation or parole encounter numerous and significant obstacles.

Each criminal confronts distinct challenges depending on their demographic, gender, length of stay, individual background, racial background, offense history, and the strength of their support system upon release. I am of the opinion that expecting reentry is feasible; however, we must analyze each situation and concentrate on the support given to the offender as they reintegrate into a society that has rejected them. I firmly believe that reintegration is achievable and that the success rate of reentry will enhance with increased focus on the support system offered to those attempting to rebuild their lives outside prison.

In addition, probation and parole officers must consider various factors in each case. These may include the duration of the offender’s incarceration, as longer stays in prison or jail can make successful reintegration more challenging. Reentry challenges and concerns about ex-offenders returning to their communities can range from potential harm to former victims to increased costs associated with new crimes committed or the ex-offender’s failure to reintegrate and subsequent reoffending.

Despite most offenders eventually returning to their home communities, it is important to evaluate and tackle the factors that contribute to an ex-prisoner becoming a productive member of society. Our extensive experience has shown that ex-offenders are significantly more prone to commit crimes and end up back in prison if they are unable to find employment, housing, or assistance. The reentry of prisoners has become a perspective through which we can examine the various challenges associated with their release from incarceration and their reintegration into communities and society in general.

It seeks to encourage the coordination of programs, services, and human resources–both inside and outside prison walls–in order to ensure the successful assimilation of prisoners into new lives, roles, jobs, families and communities.

Resources Family TIES. The Effectiveness of a Re-entry Program for Returning Probationers.

NIJ’s Evaluation of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative. National Institute of Justice. November 2, 2007.

Reentry Courts: Managing the Transition From Prison to the Community. Office of Jusitce Programs. September, 2009.≷=us&sig=AFQjCNEXUhLQ7ZIuYLi-q8TJ-9CnZfWKNw

Roman, John. Jail Reentry Roundtable Initiative. Does is Pay to Invest in Reentry Programs for Jail Inmates? June 27, 2006.

SANDAG. Public Safety: Family TIES.

Cite this page

Re-entry: Prison and Reentry Programs. (2018, Feb 28). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront