Educational and rehab services are badly needed. Information has to flow into the prison to the inmate. That information has to be clear and powerful enough to change adverse behavior. I write letters and grade lessons to do just that. Contact me to find out how you or someone you know can help.
- Why do so many inmates in the United States end up returning to prison after they are released?
- We learned of inmates who worked with prison guards to deal drugs. We heard about others who used drugs for the first time while incarcerated. Instead of getting rehab, those who came in addicted often got worse. We found inmates who used their time not to gain a trade but to learn how to more craftily commit crimes upon release.
- Restrictions, corruption and limited educational and drug rehab services help ensure that more than 75% of prisoners return to the system within five years of release in America.
- Candace Harp-Harlow, an inmate we met in Oklahoma’s Mabel Bassett prison, was the victim of sexual trauma — molested at age 6, raped at 13. She started self-medicating with drugs. Soon, she was addicted to Xanax.
- Through much of her incarceration, she continued to use. She also never got sufficient psychological care or job training.
- across the USA more than 48,000 legal restrictions limit, among other things, where former inmates can work, whether they can vote and their ability to get housing.
- Re-entry services have been shown to lower recidivism. Three years after incarceration, rates dropped between 6% and 19% in eight states that tracked recidivism from 2010 to 2013.
- A program that offers transitional services in Oklahoma, Exodus House, also managed to lower re-incarceration rates. Over seven years, only 13% of participants went back to prison.
- One memorable response, the one that most reflects what we saw, came from Pitman: “Are prisons in the U.S. failing inmates? I would say yes. But I would also say we as citizens are failing our fellow citizens.”