Parole violations are driving prison’s revolving door

[Richmond Times-Dispatch]

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Shawn D. Bushway, University at Albany, State University of New York and David J. Harding, University of California, Berkeley

(THE CONVERSATION) Rapper Meek Mill is back in prison in Pennsylvania for violating the terms of his probation.

According to officials, Mill left the state without permission, did not meet with his probation officer, tested positive for Percocet, failed to complete community service and got into a fight at an airport.

Mill’s case has drawn new attention to how probation and parole violations contribute to extremely high rates of incarceration in the United States. These high rates of incarceration are in part driven by reimprisonment of formerly incarcerated individuals, known as recidivism. More than half of people who are released from prison in a given year in the United States will return within five years, a phenomenon that has come to be known as prison’s “revolving door.”

Reducing the prison population requires a deeper understanding of what drives the revolving door. The results of our recently published study show how parole, even more than probation, plays a key role.


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Does anyone take the registry seriously these days with the avalanche of people being accused daily of this stuff on the internet? I think they will be forced to “qualify” only serious offenses soon from a practical standpoint.

That whole revolving door issue is old news…any of us who have ever been inmates already knows that .

“preventing future involvement in the criminal justice system.” Hallelujah, this should be the goal of our institutions. The practice is to make every law one can think of to trip the registrant and make him fall into prison.

The true value of a good lawyer is her ability know the system and to pick judges which tend to give probation rather than prison and to pick venues where there won’t be cameras in the courtroom, and hence your name and face won’t be front page on the internet forever. It could save your life. I don’t know if the system as a whole will ever be able to base sentencing on empirical evidence, the focus of politicians is not about preventing crime but on beating up criminals. They think it is the same thing, and they gets more likes for the violence not the pragmatism.

It used to be the CDC made a hundred grand on each inmate per year from the federal government, so it was easier to violate people on parole on a whim and collect money.

Pack Mentality [aka, herd behavior].

C’mon! Dude did not meet with his probation officer, was taking drugs, failed to complete court ordered community service, and was catching new cases.

All that being said. Does anyone other than me think pack mentality [aka, herd behavior] is responsible for the prison population? I’m not necessarily talking about the people who end up in prison, but society in general. I think the 2016 election is a perfect example of how pack mentality drives the opinions of people. Trump said that violence was good for his campaign which, in his little mind, justified saying things like, “I’d like to punch him in the face,” and then later his supporters are seen assaulting protesters in the crowd. I’m talking about this mentality in relation to second chances and social forgiveness. It’s hard to get a job in America as a felon because everyone feels they have a right to know everything about you in order to get a job [private sector discrimination]. We go as far as to pass laws that impose lifetime restrictions on welfare and food stamp benefits for anyone convicted of a state or federal drug felony, and other felony disenfranchisement laws.

IMO, there are two packs, those who think we need to be tough on crime — the punch that guy in the face crowd — and those who are for fair sentencing and how it meets the mutual goals of punishment and rehabilitation because they believe that imposing additional punishment after a criminal conviction is not only vindictive, but also counterproductive. I believe it’s the reason why a parolee has a harder time when released from prison.