Study after study shows ex-prisoners would be better off without intense supervision

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In a recent review of the literature on prisoner reentry, Brookings Institution Nonresident Fellow Jennifer Doleac summarized the best evidence on how to improve the lives of the formerly incarcerated. One of the most striking findings was that reducing the intensity of community supervision for those on probation or parole is a highly cost-effective strategy. Several studies of excellent quality and using a …

Why This Man Crusades For Mental Health After Nearly 30 Years In Prison

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“Society is not taking this issue seriously,” Thad Tatum says of the mental health needs of formerly incarcerated people. An estimated 20 percent of people in jails and 15 percent in state prisons have a serious mental illness, according to a paper compiled by the Treatment Advocacy Center. Resources for these conditions aren’t always available during incarceration or upon release …

Baltimore is mired in violent crime. Could part of the solution be found in reclaimed wood?

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The U.S. Forest Service has quietly launched a “matchmaking” effort to connect non-profits employing formerly incarcerated workers who deconstruct abandoned buildings in big metropolises such as Baltimore with private companies looking for a dependable supply of reclaimed lumber. Agency officials say the partnerships could go a long way  toward reducing the scourge of violent crime while decreasing the number of ex-offenders …

Infamous Pizza Hut break-in shines light on mental illness

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When Richard Lee Quintero called 911 and told the dispatcher he was Jesus Christ — and then confessed that he’d just broken into a High Point Pizza Hut, eaten a pizza and drunk a Mountain Dew — the story went viral almost immediately. Ironically, the incident happened four days before Palm Sunday — the date was March 21 — and …

They’re Out of Prison. Can They Stay Out of the Hospital?

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As the country tries to shrink its aging prison population, the inmates being released after years locked away often have mental illnesses and addictions that can land them back in prison if untreated. Peer health workers are central to an approach connecting former inmates to services and helping them navigate life outside. “We’ve always known incarceration is bad for health,” …

How should we deal with wrongdoing? And you can’t say ‘prison.’

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How should a kid who commits increasingly worse crimes be sentenced? How, more generally, should we respond to wrongdoing? Here’s my challenge to you: In my thought experiment, you can’t answer “prison.” Given that constraint, what punishment should this kid receive? Here are our goals: We want to respond to wrongdoing so as to ensure that victims are made whole, …

The Connecticut Experiment

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Young brains are still evolving. One prison is trying to take advantage of that. A pilot program called TRUE at Cheshire Correctional Institution represents the edge of experimentation for prison officials trying to help a population — young adults, roughly 18-25 — long known as the most likely to end up in prison and to commit more crimes after their …

I Did It Norway

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Since 2013, officials from at least a dozen states have toured prisons in Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands on official trips organized by the Prison Law Office and the Vera Institute of Justice. The idea is to expose forward-thinking prison officials to places that embrace rehabilitation over punishment, coupling intensive counseling and education with an environment that mimics the world these …