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What Issues do Prisoners Face in Preparing for Their Reentry into a Community, What Is the Impact on His or Her Family?
Prisoners face many issues when entering into the society after serving various jail terms. They mainly face social, economic challenges after their release from the jail. The environmental challenges they encounter during transition prevent them from being productive members of the society. In most cases, if such persons are not well integrated into the society they end up rearrested due to similar crime or a different crimes. In the United States more that 68% of the prisoners released, they are rearrested within a period of three years. The rearrests of the ex-offenders does not add any value to the family of the inmates and the society at large. A lot of taxpayer’s money is lost to support broken system of prison rehabilitation which holds more than two million prisoners in the United States. Issues faced by prisoners entering into the community after incarceration needs to be addressed so as to reduce rearrests cases of ex-offenders (Leverentz, 2014). The political and civil rights need a review to reduces cases of reoccurrence of the criminal activities among the ex-prisoners. Restoring some of the prisoners right ensure they don’t feel offended or humiliated by family or society members.
Reentry is the most complex transition for the offenders released from the prison to the community. They usually struggle due to; abuse, lack of job, housing, food, inadequate education, health problems and mental disturbances. In the U. S, the average sum of money that the prisoner receives on the release is $40 which is little to support their initial upkeep to start the life in the new society. The majority of prisoners released they usually owe child support more than $8000 for the service to their children (Cutcher, Degenhardt, Alati & Kinner, 2014). The general perspective of the society and families view the offenders as the sub-citizen and perpetual criminals. This prejudice diminishes their efforts of securing a consistent employment to meet their needs and family obligations. The issues that the prisoners get during the reentry in the society exist in three different categories which are micro, mezzo and macro challenges.
According to Ahmed & Ahmad (2015), Micro issues are individual level challenges of an ex-prisoners. Many of micro issues they revolve around meeting and sustaining an individual livelihood. The common micro challenges are employment, poor health, and substance abuse. It difficult for ex-offender to secure job compared to other members of the society. Inability to secure employment is due to lack of education and skills and sufficient experience. Ex-offender they mainly have poor health status due to the problems they experienced when they were prisoners. The majority of the ex-prisoners mainly abuse drug due to the stress and depression experience after imprisonment. Mezzo is family related issues faced by ex-offender. The major mezzo issue faced by prisoners are the family discomfort of reconnecting them with their families. Some of the ex-offenders they fail to locate their families completely. Some of the imprisoned married couple they get their spouses already remarried to other suitors. Macro issues they are issues faced by prisoners that come from the organization, society, community, agencies, and nation. Many societies fail to reconcile completely with ex-offenders. Change in the market trends can also be a big issue among the offenders since they have not used to the new market environment. Technology advancement usually affects the life of the prisoners while entering into the society. The majority of them they are not used to new technology and may challenge them when looking for their livelihood.
Prison does not fully reform all the prisoners. The justice system only serves a retributive role in rehabilitating the prisoners. By doing so, the majority do not change from their deviant behaviors, and there are high chances of recidivism. Restricting some of right to the offender may reduce the rate of recidivism or harming others. The restriction of right should depend on the felony of the offenders. The violent sexual offenders should not integrate with children freely. Violent offenders should be denied right to travel outside the country. There is a need for violent offenders to be on probation for some time before given total freedom to ensure they don’t repeat their violent criminal activities. The serial criminal offenders that offend their families they should not integrate with their families freely. Ex-offenders should not be denied right to vote or right to seek employment like any other person in the society. In 2007 Florida governor ensured that ex-felony offenders they regain the right to vote after a short probation (Spates & Mathis, 2014). Ex-offenders should have right to security as other members of the society.
- Ahmed, A. M., & Ahmad, A. H. B. (2015). Prison, Stigma, Discrimination and Personality as Predictors of Criminal Recidivism: Preliminary Findings. Journal of Social and Development Sciences, 6(2), 20.
- Cutcher, Z., Degenhardt, L., Alati, R., & Kinner, S. A. (2014). Poor health and social outcomes for ex‐prisoners with a history of mental disorder: a longitudinal study. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, 38(5), 424-429.
- Leverentz, A. M. (2014). The ex-prisoners dilemma: how women negotiate competing narratives of reentry and desistance. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press.
- Spates, K., & Mathis, C. (2014). Preserving dignity: Rethinking voting rights for US prisoners, lessons from South Africa. Journal of Pan African Studies, 7(6), 84-106.