Jails and prisons in the United States are known to be overcrowded and overburdened with the insurmountable number of new inmates entering the prison system. Probation and parole is a system within the system designed to help alleviate the issues of overcrowding, but it is also intended to give offenders of minor offenses a second chance. An inmate anticipating reintegration into society faces many obstacles. Too often it is assumed that once an inmate is released that their prior life behind bars is quickly forgotten about.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Inmates re-entering society are faced with constant monitoring, discrimination, poverty, alienation, and in some cases, thoughts of suicide. A parole board makes the determination as to whether or not an inmate is a good candidate for parole or probation. One major contributing factor relates to the criminal offense committed by the offender in reference to the length of sentence. Some states require that a specific portion of the sentence be completed before eligibility could be considered.
The number of infractions committed by an inmate while incarcerated in conjunction with the entirety of the criminal history is pertinent factors to be considered. Personal interviews conducted by prison staff, education, vocational training, counseling, and rehabilitation carry much weight when an inmate is up for parole (Alarid, Cromwell, & Del Carmen, 2008). Letters and communications with friends, family members, and any victims are also taken into account.
An inmate’s release plans are discussed at length in order to decipher as to whether the inmate has the ability to plan ahead in order to prevent another criminal offense from being committed (Alarid, Cromwell, & Del Carmen, 2008). Former inmates, ex-cons, and jail-birds are all stereotypes encountered on a daily basis by the former prisoner.
CRIMINOLOGY she has ever been convicted of a crime other than a traffic violation. The ex-offender must answer truthfully, but in doing so the offer of employment is almost immediately removed from the table. Finding housing can also be a difficult task as many landlords conduct criminal background checks before renting to a perspective tenant. Unless the ex-offender has family or friends willing to allow him or her to reside with them, some ex-offenders find that a homeless shelter is the only place to live. Parole is more of a test than a benefit.
Carl Wicklund, American Probation and Parole Association President, stated that “Parole sets people up for failure” (Herivel & Wright, 2003). There is no one solution for aiding or making reintegration into society any easier for an ex-offender. Some would argue that the former prisoner is getting what he or she deserves, but this goes to the contrary. In some ways, the former prisoner has already paid their debt to society. In essence, society is discriminating against another human being who got caught.
The prison system could begin combating this problem by setting up a mandatory reintegration counseling program for inmates who have recently been approved for parole. This program could be formatted in a one-on-one session or in a group therapy session whereby each inmate could voice their concerns, fears, and anxieties about re-entering society. Another beneficial solution would be for the prison case managers to set up counseling services for the parolee before he or she leaves the prison.
This could be mandated as a condition of parole, and it would afford the parolee an outlet to talk with someone when issues arise from reintegration. Paroles and probationers are human beings, too. Their personal mistakes and poor judgments have cost them their freedom, but that does not constitute forcing them to live in a prison in the free world. References Alarid, L. , Cromwell, P. , & Del Carmen, R. (2008). Community-based corrections (7th ed. ). Belmont, CA: Thomson-Wadsworth. Herivel, T. , & Wright, P. (2003). Prison nation: the warehousing of america’s poor. USA: Taylor & Francis Group.