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Prisoner Reentry: Current Trends, Practices, and Issues

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 47 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2001 Pages: 314-334
James Austin
Date Published
July 2001
21 pages
This article describes current prison admission, release, and community supervision practices and how they vary across States.
After three decades of passing laws and implementing policies designed to dramatically increase the Nation's prison population and harden the conditions of confinement, policymakers and criminologists are now interested in prisoner release. This article uses national data and a survey of eight States to examine current prison admission, release, and community supervision practices. Most State prison systems are ill equipped to ease the transition of inmates from prison to the community. A significant portion of released inmates pose minimal risk to public safety. The article claims that parole supervision increasingly results in ex-convicts being reincarcerated for noncriminal behavior or misdemeanors. It suggests that, for most inmates, reentry should be altered by either eliminating supervision or greatly shortening the period of supervision. The article also considers two other approaches to releasing inmates. One program would increase the size and funding of the current postrelease system and enhance parole. The second approach would hold offenders, not corrections, responsible for their postrelease behavior and would include a mandatory period of community supervision. Tables, notes, references