When Prisoners Come Home: Parole and Prisoner Reentry

Paperback | April 21, 2009

byJoan Petersilia

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By 2011, it is projected that more that 750,000 jailed Americans will leave prison and return to society each year. Largely uneducated, unskilled, often without family support, and with the stigma of a prison record hanging over them, many if not most will experience serious social andpsychological problems after release. Fewer than one in three prisoners receive substance abuse or mental health treatment while incarcerated, and each year fewer and fewer participate in the dwindling number of vocational or educational pre-release programs, leaving many all but unemployable. Notsurprisingly, the great majority is rearrested, most within six months of their release. What happens when all those sent down the river come back up - and out?As long as there have been prisons, society has struggled with how best to help prisoners reintegrate once released. But the current situation is unprecedented. As a result of the quadrupling of the American prison population in the last quarter century, the number of returning offenders dwarfsanything in America's history. What happens when a large percentage of inner-city men, mostly Black and Hispanic, are regularly extracted, imprisoned, and then returned a few years later in worse shape and with dimmer prospects than when they committed the crime resulting in their imprisonment? Whattoll does this constant "churning" exact on a community? And what do these trends portend for public safety? A crisis looms, and the criminal justice and social welfare system is wholly unprepared to confront it.Drawing on dozens of interviews with inmates, former prisoners, and prison officials, Joan Petersilia convincingly shows us how the current system is failing, and failing badly. Unwilling merely to sound the alarm, Petersilia explores the harsh realities of prisoner reentry and offers specificsolutions to prepare inmates for release, reduce recidivism, and restore them to full citizenship, while never losing sight of the demands of public safety.

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By 2011, it is projected that more that 750,000 jailed Americans will leave prison and return to society each year. Largely uneducated, unskilled, often without family support, and with the stigma of a prison record hanging over them, many if not most will experience serious social andpsychological problems after release. Fewer than on...

Joan Petersilia is Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine. The author of numerous books and a former president of the American Society of Criminology, she is a consultant to the United States Department of Justice and to many state and local agencies.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:April 21, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195386124

ISBN - 13:9780195386127

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Introduction and Overview2. Who's Coming Home? A Profile of Returning Prisoners3. The Origins and Evolution of Modern Parole4. The Changing Nature of Parole Supervision and Services5. How We Help: Preparing Inmates for Release6. How We Hinder: Legal and Practical Barriers to Reintegration7. Revolving Door Justice: Inmate Release and Recidivism8. The Victim's Role in Prisoner Reentry9. What to Do? Reforming Parole and Reentry Practices10. Conclusions: When Punitive Policies BackfireAfterword

Editorial Reviews

"In When Prisoners Come Home , Petersilia exposes her investigative and policy background to good effect....Petersilia's arguments--plainly stated and soundly grounded in the empirical evidence on program failures and successes - provide an aggressive agenda for practices that couldmeaningfully change the way criminal justice is implemented in the United States." --Community Corrections Report