Prison Alternatives and Rehabilitation

Series Titles • The History of Punishment and Imprisonment • Juveniles Growing Up in Prison • Political Prisoners • Prison Alternatives and Rehabilitation • Prison Conditions Around the World • The Treatment of Prisoners and Prison Conditions • The True Cost of Prisons • Unequal Justice • Women Incarcerated

Prison Alternatives and Rehabilitation

BY Craig Russell Associate Dean, John Jay College of Criminal Justice FOREWORD BY Larry E. Sullivan, PhD


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Names: Russell, Craig, 1953- author. Title: Prison alternatives and rehabilitation / by Craig Russell ; foreword   by Larry E. Sullivan, PhD, Associate Dean, John Jay College of Criminal   Justice. Other titles: Alternatives to prison Description: Broomall, PA : Mason Crest, [2018] | Series: The prison system |   Includes index. Identifiers: LCCN 2016054102| ISBN 9781422237854 (hardback) | ISBN   9781422237816 (series) | ISBN 9781422280003 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Alternatives to imprisonment--United States. |   Criminals--Rehabilitation--United States. | Corrections--United States. Classification: LCC HV9304 .R87 2018 | DDC 364.6--dc23

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Contents Foreword by Larry E. Sullivan, PhD.......................................................... 6 1 Why Do We Need Alternatives to Prison?...................... 9 2 Parole and Probation.........................................................21 3 Types of Rehabilitation.......................................................35 4 Boot Camp...........................................................................45 5 Community Service............................................................55 6 Day Reporting and House Arrest....................................67 Series Glossary ....................................................................... 74 Further Resources .................................................................... 77 Index ....................................................................................... 79 About the Author, Series Consultant, and Picture Credits ........... 80

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Foreword Prisons have a long history, one that began with the idea of evil, guilt, and atonement. In fact, the motto of one of the first prison reform organizations was “Sin no more.” Placing offenders in prison was, for most of the history of prison systems, a ritual for redemption through incarceration; hence the language of punishment takes on a very religious cast. The word penitentiary itself comes from the concept of penance, or self-punishment to make up for a past wrong. When we discuss prisons, we are dealing not only with the law, but with very strong emotions and reactions to acts that range fromminor crimes, or misdemeanors, to major crimes, or felonies, such as murder and rape. Prisons also reflect the level of the civilizing process throughwhich a culture travels, and it tells us much about how we treat our fellow human beings. The 19th-century Russian au- thor Fyodor Dostoyevsky, whowas a political prisoner, remarked, “The degree of civilization in a society can be measured by observing its prisoners.” Similarly, Winston Churchill, the British primeminister duringWorldWar II, said that the “treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of civilization of any country.” For much of the history of the American prison, we tried to rehabilitate or modify the criminal behavior of offenders through a variety of treatment programs. In the last quarter of the 20th century, politicians and citizens alike realized that this attempt had failed, and they began passing stricter laws, imprisoning people for longer terms, and building more prisons. This movement has taken a great toll on society. Beginning in the 1970s federal and state governments passed mandatory minimum sentencing laws, stricter habitual offender legislation, and other “tough on crime” laws that have led today to the incarceration in prisons and jails of approximately 2.3 million people, or an imprisonment rate of 720 per 100,000 people, the highest recorded level in the world. This has led to the overcrowding of prisons, worse living conditions, fewer educational programs, and severe budgetaryproblems. Imprisonment carries a significant social cost since it splits families and contributes to a cycle of crime, violence, drug addiction, and poverty. The Federal Sentencing ReformAct of 1984 created a grid of offenses and crime categories for sentencing that disallowedmitigating circumstances. This grid was meant to prevent disparate sentences for similar crimes. The governmentmade these guidelinesmandatory, thereby takingmost discretionary sentencing out of the hands of judges who previously could give a wider range of sentences, such as one year to life, and allow for some type of rehabilitation. The unintended consequences of this legislative reform in sentencing was the doubling of the number of incarcerated people in the United States. Combined with the harsh sentences on drug offenders, almost half of the prisoners in the federal system are narcotics offenders, both violent and nonviolent, traffickers and users. States followed suit in enacting the harsh guidelines of the federal government in sentencing patterns. “Life without parole” laws and the changes in parole and probation practices led to even more offenders behind bars. Following the increase in the number of incarcerated offenders, more and more prisons were built with the aid of federal funds and filled to the brim with both violent and nonviolent offenders. In addition,


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many states handed over penal custody to the new private for-profit prisons that stemmed from mass incarceration. In the 21st century officials, politicians, and the public began to realize that such drastic laws wrought much harm to society. With the spread of long-term imprisonment, those who had spent decades in prison were unemployable after release. Their criminal histories followed them and made it difficult if not impossible to find gainful employment. Therefore, they entered the criminal world continually and thus sped up the vicious cycle of crime- imprisonment-release-crime-punishment. America was reaching the tipping point; some- thing had to give. In response to this growing trend of harsh sentencing, for example, the Supreme Court led the way between 2005 and 2016 with decisions banning the death penalty for juveniles (Roper v. Simmons, U.S. 551 [2005]), life sentence without parole for juveniles not convicted of homicide (Graham v. Florida, 130 S. Ct. 2011 [2010]); and life without parole for juveniles (Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbes 132 S. Ct. 2455 [2012] and Montgomery v. Louisiana 135 S.Ct. 1729 [2015]). Behavioral psychologists and other officials do not consider juveniles capable of making fully formed decisions, and the Supreme Court has recognized the devel- opmental differences that excuses full individual responsibility and applies to their actions the philosophic principle of just deserts.Many states (90 percent of prisoners are under state, not federal jurisdiction) are beginning to take action by reducing harshmandatory sentences for adults. Most states, for example, have gone toward the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana, with lighter penalties for possession of the drug. Sincemost prisoners in state institutions are violent, however, contemporary America is caught in a dilemma withwhich many academics and governmental policy makers are aggressively grappling. All these are reasons why this series on the prison system is extremely important for understanding the history and culture of the United States. Readers will learn all facets of punishment: its history; the attempts to rehabilitate offenders; the increasing number of women and juveniles inprison; the inequality of sentencing among the races; attempts to find alternatives to incarceration; the high cost, both economically andmorally, of imprisonment; and other equally important issues. These books teach us the importance of understanding that the prison system affects more people in the United States than any institution, other than our schools.

Larry E. Sullivan, PhD Associate Dean Chief Librarian John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor of Criminal Justice Graduate School and University Center City University of New York


Prison Alternatives and Rehabilitation

Why Do We Need Alternatives to Prison? Words to Understand Electronic monitoring: Electronic or telecommunications system, such as an ankle bracelet transmitter, used to track and supervise the location of an individual. House arrest: State of being kept as a prisoner in one’s home rather than a prison; also called home detention. Parole: The release from prison, either early or after the sentence is fulfilled. Probation: A period where an offender is released from prison, but placed under su- pervision. Recidivism: The repeating of or returning to criminal behavior. The recidivism rate is

the percentage of released prisoners who go on to commit new crimes. Rehabilitation: To help someone return to good standing in the community.

In 1967, when he was 16 years old, George B. stole $60,000. He didn’t steal it all at once, though. Instead, he took a little at a time: $50 here, $100 there. Sometimes he got it by robbing strangers. If he saw a woman walking down a Manhattan street looking a little scared, he would push her up against the nearest wall and threaten to hurt her if she didn’t give him her money. George was six feet tall and weighed about 250 pounds, and since he only picked on people smaller than he, no one fought back. He had never, he said, been in a fight in his life.

The number of people currently incarcerated in the United States is about 2.2 million. As the number of inmates has risen, so have the costs.


Prison Alternatives and Rehabilitation

Most of that money he got fromstealing and then cashing other people’s Social Security checks. He knew what day the post office delivered the checks, he knew what color the envelopeswere as he peered into the lockedmailboxes, and he knew how to use a stick and a little chewed gum to slide an envelope out of a mail slot. He also knewhow to get the checks cashed at some of the numerous check-cashing businesses throughout New York City. But he didn’t use the money he stole to buy a fancy car or to live in luxury. Instead, he spent that money—all of it—on just one thing. Heroin. He lived like that for several years, stealing and robbing and getting high. Heroin was his only interest. It kept himwarm, made him feel safe, and gave him a reason to live. Back then, he said, heroin was his only friend. One night in the early 1970s, George was shooting up on a Harlem street. He said he was so high that he didn’t know he was high, so he kept jabbing the needle into his arm again and again and again. In his drugged-out haze, he didn’t see the police officer until it was much too late. George was arrested and charged with heroin possession. Since he had just made a big buy and had a large amount on him, he was also charged with dealing heroin. Things looked bad. But the judge didn’t knowGeorge had stolen somuchmoney. She didn’t know that all those people hadmissed their Social Security checks. She only knew that George was young (he was just 20 years old at the time) and that he had never been in trouble with the law before. As a result, the judge gave him a choice: 20 years in Attica State Prison or rehabilitation . George chose rehabilitation. The Renaissance Project The Renaissance Project, which began more than 40 years ago, is just one of hundreds of substance abuse programs in the United States. Based in New York State’s Westchester County, the program provides care, education, self-help, and support as it helps guide its clients to constructive lives. It has space for 100 patients at its facility in Ellenville, NY, as well as several outpatient facilities throughout the county. It also provides a 24-hour telephone hotline and counseling services to the more than 1,200 people it helps every year.

Giving Inmates Opportunity Arizona inmates receive education, counseling, substance abuse treatment, job training and work opportunities.


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The exterior of the Renaissance Project building in Ellenville, NY.

First, Georgewent through theRenaissance Project’s substance abuse program andgot himself off heroin. Thenhewent toWestchesterCommunityCollege,where he got a degree as a radiologist. He got married and landed a job taking X-rays at a hospital in Beacon, NY. After his divorce, he went back to college but found that he didn’t like it anymore. Instead, he traveled, first through the southwesternUnited States and then the Caribbean and Central America. He fell in love with Belize, a small country on the Yucatán Peninsula just southeast of Mexico. Eventually, he moved there permanently. George B. enjoyed his life. He ate mostly fish and fruit and gave visitors guided tours of the Gulf of Mexico in his 21-foot boat. In 1990, when he was 40 years old, he died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Although he died young, George B. was one of the lucky ones. Instead of spend- ing the last half of his life confined to prison, he spent it on the outside—learning, loving, and traveling. The judge had offered him an alternative to prison; taking it made all the difference in his life. Most of us think that if we break the law and a jury convicts us, we will spend a certain amount of time in jail or prison. But that’s not always true. Today, many convicted criminals are offered alternatives to prison. Some, like


Prison Alternatives and Rehabilitation

George B., might be given probation and sentenced to attend a drug rehabilita- tion program. Some go to jail or prison but are released early on parole . Some might be sentenced to community service and work (for free) for a government agency or a nonprofit organization. Others might be sent to a boot camp, where they undergo military-style discipline. Still others are put on house arrest and serve their sentence under electronic monitoring at home. Others are ordered to serve part-time at a day reporting center. Participants in day re- porting programs are required to report to a center each day and maintain a schedule of classes or participate in counseling, job skills training, and drug treatment. The Need for Alternatives Why are there so many alternatives to prison? One reason is simple practicality. The United States, for example, has more than three times as many prisoners as it did just 25 years ago. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, about four million Americans were under correctional supervision in 1990, which includes those in prison, on probation, or on parole. By 2013 that number had risen to almost seven million, and there just isn’t enough prison space to have them all incarcerated. The cost of keeping someone in prison continues to rise as well. In 1999 Americans spent $49 billion on prisons. That was more than double what was spent just 10 years earlier. By 2014 that number was up to more than $80 billion. Between 1988 and 2014 prison costs quadrupled. Put another way, the average American paid $104 a year to keep someone in prison in 2001. Less than 15 years later, that number rose to $260. As of 2015 it cost an average of $31,000 to incarcer- ate one prisoner. In Canada it’s even higher: about $119,000 a year (about $92,000 American). That’s more than enough to pay for a year of tuition at a top-notch private university. The Difference Between Jail and Prison Usually, when people are first arrested, they are put in jail. A jail is generally a small facility operated by the local county, city, or town. Unless they can afford bail or are released on just their promise that they will appear for all hearings, people are held in jail until their trials. Jails also hold people convicted of minor crimes. Peo- ple convicted of major crimes are sent to prisons, which are usually much larger than jails. Most prisons are run by either state governments or the federal government. Some prisons, however, are privately owned and run by companies. These are often referred to as for-profit prisons.


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Asecond reason for alternatives to prison is that some experts believe incarcer- ation is ineffective; they think that prison just doesn’t work. Also, too often young offenders become hardened by their experiences in prison and face no future out- side of crime. Much research shows that being sent to prison does little to prevent further crime. For example, according to a study by the Pew Center on the States, over 40 percent of all people leaving prison will reoffend and be back in prison within three years of their release. A report by the U.S. Sentencing Commission found that almost half (49.3 percent) of 25,400 former inmates who were either released from federal prisons in 2005 or put on probation had been arrested again

within thenext eight years, either for a new offense or for violating condi- tions of theirparoleor release. These high recidivism rates are discour- aging and are some of the reasons why lawmakers and criminal justice professionals are rethinking the use of prisons.

Exploring cost-effective alternatives to prison. More Effective, Less Expensive

Some of the many alternatives to prison

• Halfway houses: Low-security, supervised-living, community-based homes where convicts can transition from prison to life on the outside. • House arrest: Confinement at home often while wearing an electronic monitoring device. • Mental health, sex offender, and drug treatment programs: Programs offered often in residential facilities to address psychological and substance abuse problems. • Boot camps: Short-term, intensive programs (often run outdoors) designed to teach convicts mental and physical discipline. The History of Punishment Our modern prisons began as an alternative to earlier forms of punishment. (For further information, see the first volume of The Prison System series, The History of Punishment and Imprisonment .) Before the 1800s prisons did not exist in the United States. Offenders were punished quickly and directly for their crimes. Punishments in colonial America varied widely and often depended on the amount of money a person had. The rich might be fined, and if they demonstrated good behavior, they might even get that money back. The


Prison Alternatives and Rehabilitation


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