Released Inmate Profile
The following facts provide a profile of the standard client who is being released from prison. These attributes are generalized for the client according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
- Inmates are in general, older with “38% were age 35 or older”(James, 2004).
- The majority of individuals released form jail were racial or ethnic minorities with 40% being “Black, 19%, Hispanic, 1% American Indian; 1% Asian; and 3% of more than one race/ethnicity”(James, 2004).
- More than half of the released individuals will have been incarcerated for violence or drug offenses(James, 2004).
- 46% of jail inmates released have been on probation before and were rearrested during their last probation period for violations(James, 2004).
- Approximately 13% had a current or prior drug offense when rearrested(James, 2004).
- The average sentence completed by an offender is 23 months having served 10-9 months(James, 2004).
- Alcohol and drugs were the largest factors in recidivism (James, 2004).
- The percentages of regular users of alcohol and drugs were 66.0% and 68.7% of all individuals released(James, 2004).
- Approximately 56% of individuals released do not have family support or they have limited family support(James, 2004).
Most clients who are released from prison are given aftercare plans as part of parole. These plans typically include the use of Human Services organizations for the purpose of drug, alcohol, job placement, and mental healthcare. The trend in these areas has been to create more comprehensive aftercare plans which reduce the risk of recidivism. Great strides have been made in terms of providing job placement and reintegration of individuals with communities however, there is still are large problem with drug and alcohol aftercare (Samaha, 2006). Dugs and alcohol and addiction in general is the largest factor impacting recidivism. As a result of poor addiction aftercare choices, the trend in creating more effective aftercare is challenged.
The problem is addiction aftercare is that these programs are not effective and place individuals at risk of relapse and recidivism. For example, most drug and rehabilitation programs use 12 Step programs, and these programs have proven to be extremely ineffective methods of rehabilitation. Twelve step programs often have rates of success between 1 and 4% (Vaillant, 1995). This problem carries over to aftercare programs because Twelve Step programs are the primary treatment for addiction (Schmid, 2001). This problem is pervasive in the addiction aftercare programs:
In 1999 a study of Texas’ correctional substance abuse treatment programs discovered that participation in AA meetings had no more effect on substance abusers than no treatment. In follow-ups to this study the rate of relapse was larger in the treatment group than in the non-treatment group. Researchers claimed that there might be some individuals who have a negative reaction to AA and this reaction causes relapses (Peele, 2001).
There is also the issue of lack of resources for monitoring which increases the risk of recidivism.
Unfortunately, aftercare caseworkers, like probation officers, often carry such large caseloads that their jobs are next to impossible to do adequately (Siegel & Welsh, 2005).
Coupled with ineffective therapies, aftercare success has also been plagued by poor community program models. The trouble extends from conflicting social perspectives in which society is constantly waffling between punishment and rehabilitation. As a result of this lack of critical understanding and waffling in policies, there is little progress made to find effective program solutions that curb recidivism rates. Experts point to the basic issues that no punishment “policy can solve the problem of … crime since it arises not from the criminal justice system, but from deeper social conditions and inequalities” (Bernard, Bernard, & Kurlychek, 2010).
In order to create a more rehabilitative system of justice, the policies that continue to increase punitive measures will need to be abandoned and replaces with community services and intervention programs that are based on psychology, psychiatric, and social studies (Bernard, Bernard, & Kurlychek, 2010). By creating programs of this nature, this would align the actions of the juvenile justice system to be more cohesive with the purpose of rehabilitation by incorporating human services expertise and knowledge. These programs would also provide a means of more effective monitoring because there are more stakeholders involved in the process.
As a result of inefficiencies and lack or resources in supervised probation, new models such as the IAP have been created. These models are based on a comprehensive approach for dealing with many different issues such as addiction. The model works by creating a model for care that works on social, economic, mental health, legal, and family issues:
The Intensive Aftercare Program (IAP) Model New models of aftercare have been aimed at the chronic or violent offender. The Intensive Aftercare
Program (IAP) model developed by David Altschuler and Troy Armstrong offers a continuum of intervention for serious offenders returning to the community following placement.112 The IAP model begins by drawing attention to five basic principles, which collectively establish a set of fundamental operational goals… (Siegel & Welsh, 2005)
IAP works on the care philosophy of medicine and places offenders in a number of services ranging from therapy to work programs. The IAP works by trying to reduce the risk of recidivism by altering many risk factors such as educational performance and psychological factors including victimization from abuse (Siegel & Welsh, 2005). This method has been shown to reduce rates of recidivism by as much as 20% in the few implementations which have occurred (Siegel & Welsh, 2005). While this method appears to be successful it will take societal commitment because of the cost involved in the program.
While the IAP model has better methodologies than other programs it is still reliant on ample resources to be effective. This model is expensive because it requires multidisciplinary human services personnel and programs. Without proper funding and support IAP will not be effective. The problem is that cost is higher in the short term using IAP but the reduction in recidivism produces more robust economic savings. While Twelve Step Programs are less expensive, they actually increase long term costs for rehabilitation. The use of systems such as IAP provide more effective linkage between law enforcement and human services programs.
Bernard, T., Bernard, T., & Kurlychek, M. C. (2010). The cycle of juvenile justice. New York, Ny: Oxford UP.
James, D. J. (2004). Profile of Inmates, 2002. (B. o. Statistics, Producer) Retrieved from Bureau of Justice Statistics
Peele, S. (2001). Drunk with power. Reason, 33(34).
Samaha, J. (2006). Criminal justice (7 ed.). Belmont, CA: Thompson Wadsworth.
Schmid, D. J. (2001, August). Restorative Justice in New Zealand: A model for U.S> Criminal Justice. Retrieved from Fullbright New Zealand
Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. C. (2005). Juvenile delinquency: The core. (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Vaillant, G. (1995). The natural history of alcoholism revisited. Cambridge, MA: Harvard.