The number of people living in correctional facilities across the country has reached unprecedented levels, leading some scholars to refer to the current period in correctional policy as the era of “mass imprisonment” (Garland 2001). Between 1983 and 2006 the total number of people under correctional supervision in the United States (U.S.) more than tripled, increasing from 2,052,938 to 7,211,400. These figures translate to a per capita rate of 878 per 100,000 in 1983 to 2,409 per 100,000 in 2006 (Harrison 2000; Glaze & Bonczar 2007; U.S. Census 2006).
United States prisons release more than 600,000 individuals each year. Within three years of release, 50 percent of released prisoners are back in prison. Work release has the potential to serve as a structured re-entry into the mainstream labor market. In an economic model of crime, an improvement in legal labor market opportunities should reduce criminal activity. After using a variety of econometric techniques to address the non-random selection of inmates into work release, I find that inmates who participate in work release have better post-prison employment outcomes.
After conducting a comprehensive literature search, the authors undertook a meta-analysis to examine the association between correctional education and reductions in recidivism, improvements in employment after release from prison, and learning in math and in reading. Their findings support the premise that receiving correctional education while incarcerated reduces an individual's risk of recidivating. They also found that those receiving correctional education had improved odds of obtaining employment after release.
Rapid growth in the incarceration rate over the past two decades has made prison time a routine event in the life course of young, economically disadvantaged Black and Hispanic men. Although incarceration may now have large effects on economic inequality, only a few studies systematically examine the labor market experiences of ex-offenders. We review the mechanisms that plausibly link incarceration to employment and earnings and discuss the challenges of causal inference for a highly self-selected sample of criminal offenders.
In our society, individual acts of intentional discrimination function in concert with historically created vulnerabilities; these vulnerabilities are based on disfavored identity categories and amplify each injustice and injury. Although anyone can be a victim of housing discrimination, women of color suffer distinct collateral injuries from barriers to housing that are collective and cumulative in nature.
On January 5, 2011, during an Interagency Reentry Council Meeting, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan reminded council members that “this is an Administration that believes in the importance of second chances.” He further stated, “And at HUD, part of that support means helping ex-offenders gain access to one of the most fundamental building blocks of a stable life – a place to live.” (author introduction)
The Reentry Roundtable entitled, The Employment Dimensions of Prisoner Reentry: Understanding the Nexus between Prisoner Reentry and Work, was held on May 19-20, 2003 in New York City. The Roundtable focused on several aspects of the employment-reentry link, including the employment profile of the prison population; the work experience in prison; applicable lessons from welfare to work; the employment barriers ex-offenders face; and the potential linkages between correctional systems, intervention programs, and private employers.
While individuals returning from prison face many barriers to successful re-entry, among the most serious are the challenges they face in securing housing. Housing has long been recognized as a prerequisite for stable employment, access to social services, and other aspects of individual and family functioning. The formerly incarcerated face several administrative and de facto restrictions on their housing options; however, little is known about the unique instabilities that they face.
Over the last thirty years, the U.S. penal population increased from around 300,000 to more than two million, with more than half a million prisoners returning to their home communities each year. What are the social costs to the communities from which this vast incarcerated population comes? And what happens to these communities when former prisoners return as free men and women in need of social and economic support?
With incarceration rates in America at record high levels, the criminal justice system now touches the lives of millions of children each year. The imprisonment of nearly three-quarters of a million parents disrupts parent-child relationships, alters the networks of familial support, and places new burdens on governmental services such as schools, foster care, adoption agencies, and youth serving organizations. Few studies have explored the impact of parental incarceration on young children or identified the needs that arise from such circumstances.