Prison-to-work programs over all are “desperately inadequate,” said Devah Pager, a Harvard sociologist. “At the moment, there’s very little systematic provision of assistance to match ex-offenders with jobs at release,” said Ms. Pager, whose research focuses on the barriers that race and criminal records pose in the workplace.
Montana’s Parole Board often delays the release of paroled inmates by requiring additional programs before they hit the streets, and shouldn’t be ordering unnecessary treatment for low-level offenders, a national expert said Wednesday.
Montana’s overcrowded jails and prisons are prompting state officials to take a serious look at the complex issues behind the rising number of arrests, recidivism and policies that may be responsible for a surge in incarcerations.
The state Supreme Court this week approved changes to court rules governing probation sentences by agreeing to cap terms for nonviolent offenses at three years, by providing a way for offenders to have their probation reduced, and by increasing the state’s burden when it seeks to send someone back to prison as a probation violator.
A mix of lawmakers, lawmen, judges and mental-health advocates given the task of looking for ways to tackle the state’s ballooning prison rolls recommended that the state increase funding and manpower for parole services.
Andy Barbee, research manager for the Council of State Governments Justice Center, which has been studying Arkansas’ growing prison population, told the Legislative Criminal Justice Oversight Task Force that between fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2015, admissions to Arkansas prisons increased by 41 percent. Between 2012 and 2015 the increase was 70 percent, he said.
The Justice Reinvestment Act is the most robust, thoroughly vetted piece of legislation that I have contributed to in my years as a lawmaker in Maryland. I am proud that the General Assembly came together and passed a comprehensive set of criminal justice reforms to provide the corrections system Marylanders deserve: one that is cost-effective, evidence-based and just.
Montana could reduce its spending on jails and prisons if detention facilities and treatment programs focused their services on those most likely to re-offend while others could be supervised by an increased number of probation and parole officers, researchers said.
Nebraska could keep more inmates from returning to prison by providing more access to programs, a study by analysts from the Council of State Governments Justice Center concluded.
A national group that helps states improve their prison systems gave Nebraska high marks for the quality of its rehabilitation programs but lower marks for the quantity of them.