Bruce Reilly: It is the older people, who have spent longer in prison, that are most prepared to start a new life; and we have the lowest rates of continued criminal activity. Yet starting a new life that includes an official job and an official home can literally be impossible for some.
Diane Lefer: As our Probation Department moves in the direction of reform, the good news is that the department recognizes the need for reentry services for kids coming out of the system–often traumatized, unable to read and write, set free on the mean streets in an abysmal job market while carrying the stigma of lockup.
Friday Feedback: People are understandably appalled when violent offenders get early release and go on to commit horrendous crimes, including the recent murder of Chelsea King for which a parolee has been arrested. What is less understood is that thousands of people — including juveniles as young as 13 — are being handed life sentences, including life without any possibility of parole.
Dick Price: To get a handle on the damage California’s current approach to incarceration is having on its citizens, consider this: In a recent 23-year period, California erected 23 prisons—one a year, each costing roughly $100 million dollars annually to operate, with both Democratic and Republican governors occupying the statehouse—at the same time that it added just one campus to its vaunted university system, UC Merced.
Young men who are re-entering society from prison can’t find work. Recent studies on prisoner re-entry suggest that, in California, nearly 400 prisoners, A DAY, are being released into the community, with 70% to 90% of them being unemployed because only 20% of the state’s employers are willing to hire persons with convictions (no matter how long ago).
by Diane Lefer — Barack Obama says we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States, and after his election, I heard from friends and relatives—progressives all–who live in places like Alabama, Alaska, and Kentucky all saying we are here, too, along with millions of others working for change in the so-called […]