“Every year in the United State, more than 9 million men and women are released from jail or prison, meaning that each week, nearly 175,000 will return to the community. Many of these men and women will never regain their full citizenship even though they have fully paid their debt to society. They will not be able to vote, receive student loans or be able to secure public housing,” Allen and Smith write.
The authors argue for a restorative approach based on assessment and intensive case management that would help former inmates come back to their communities and work, pay taxes, and become more civic-minded.
“The resources committed to building costly prisons could be better spent on safe, effective community-based diversion programs,” the authors write. They offer the example of Goodwill of Central Texas, which has recently developed a pilot program designed to address the long-term needs of individuals involved with the criminal justice system.