Failures in re-entry programs have been linked to higher recidivism rates among minority communities in Colorado. Higher recidivism on the other hand has led to prison overcrowding in the state.
The solution to prison overcrowding is however found in reducing recidivism and also reducing mass incarceration. Several studies point to this fact, most especially as it relates to African-Americans who tend to populate prisons most.
Benefits of Re-Entry Programs for both Inmates and the Government
This discovery has led the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) to focus more on its re-entry program. This re-entry program is set up for inmates that are soon to be released as well as those about to be paroled.
The program will help qualified inmates to secure paid employments before they leave prison. The main objective of this re-entry program is to equip prison inmates with the marketable skills needed to make a living outside the prison walls.
Many prisoners have been incarcerated for up to 10 and 20 years above. They have become so disconnected from human society to the point that they prefer the security of prison facilities than the open world.
When ex-prisoners lack marketability skills for survival in the open world, they often go back into crimes and soon find themselves locked up again – fueling overcrowded prisons. To beat the cycle of incarceration for ex-prisoners, the government is trying to train them to market their skills and obtain gainful employment even before their release from prison.
The DOC re-entry program will also give prison inmates the opportunity to get acquainted with their parole officers. This is important because failed appointments with parole officers after release often add up to parole violations.
Meanwhile, being exposed to the re-entry program while still incarcerated enables inmates to obtain necessary housing, get treated for substance addictions, get interviewed for jobs via teleconferencing, and also sharpen acquired vocational skills.
The Brennan Center for Justice, a policy institute at New York University of Law published a report in 2016 that shows the US government may save up to $200 billion over a 10-year period by reducing mass incarceration.
Some Inmates May Stay Up To 90 Days in the Re-Entry Program Units
The Colorado DOC makes it possible for prison inmates to be moved to units where they learn skills in readiness for re-entry into the society. They may stay up to 90 days in these program units until they are well equipped with necessary skills and set for release.
Some inmates may also less than 90 days in these units when they are so overcrowded, or depending on how long they have been locked up. When inmates are well equipped with earning potentials, they barely return to prison again, leading to reduced prison populations.