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November 5, 2013

"Looking for Answers on Overcrowded Prisons"

The title of this post is the headline of this notable new AP article coming from Philadelphia.  The piece is primarily about federal corrections and re-entry issues, as well as on-going work of AG Eric Holder and the Department of Justice.  Here are excerpts:

Some ex-offenders here report to federal court twice a month so that judges can gauge their progress, from drug testing and parenting classes to education and job training. It's an attempt to address a stubborn problem: nearly 25 percent of offenders released into federal supervision were rearrested for a new offense within five years, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.  Another 14 percent violate the conditions of their supervision.

Attorney General Eric Holder is taking a look at the Philadelphia program Tuesday to call attention to an overburdened prison system and the high incidence of repeat criminals, the first of three such visits to promote innovative crime prevention initiatives. Holder will visit St. Louis and Peoria, Ill., on Nov. 14.

"The common thread of these programs is that it is very difficult to get out of a cycle of crime without proper rehabilitation," Holder said in an interview.  "We should not be surprised" at high repeat offender rates "when we see people with education deficits, social deficits and we warehouse them and then just put them back into the same environment that they left."...

Seven years ago, federal judges in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania created a federal re-entry court that focuses on ex-criminal offenders with a significant risk of returning to a life of crime.  The goal of the program is to place participants on a path to employment rather than a cycle of crime.  Those who successfully complete the 52-week program can reduce their court-supervised release by a year. It aims to cut Philadelphia's high violent crime rate by addressing the social, family and logistical issues confronting ex-offenders when they return to society.

Of 186 participants in the Supervision to Aid Re-Entry, or STAR, initiative over the past seven years, 142 have successfully completed the program or remain in it. In a new change designed to keep ex-offenders on the right track, STAR will provide some participants with federal housing assistance under a federal voucher program.

"For every dollar we invest in programs like these we are going to save much more" in prison costs, an outcome that will enable spending limited law-enforcement resources on other priorities, Holder said.

While Philadelphia's program deals with high-risk offenders, the program in St. Louis is aimed at helping low-level drug offenders remain drug-free and the effort in Peoria, Ill., substitutes drug treatment for jail time for low-level drug offenders.

In all, 73 of 79 participants in the Peoria program have successfully completed it. The program operated by the U.S. Attorney's office, a federal court, the probation office and defense lawyers is designed for defendants whose criminal conduct was motivated by substance abuse. The Justice Department says over $6 million has been saved through the program — money that otherwise would have been spent on putting the defendants behind bars....

Federal prisons are operating at nearly 40 percent above capacity and almost half of the prisoners are serving time for drug-related crimes. Many of them have substance use disorders. In addition, some 9 million to 10 million prisoners go through local jails each year. "We cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation," Holder told the American Bar Association in August. "To be effective, federal efforts must also focus on prevention and re-entry."

November 5, 2013 at 01:00 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Decriminalize mala prohibita.

Alternative sentencing for people who do not need incapacitation.

Prove to Daubert standards mala in se.

Execute all violent predators committing the 3 in prison of the 123D.

Have what the lawyers have in their cities of residence, the death penalty at the scene of any violent crime, with three police arriving in 2 minutes, blasting.

Give all high school students weapons training. Upon adulthood, mandate the carrying of concealed weapons, with a $100 fine to any citizen who does not try to shoot a violent criminal at the scene.

Desuetude should become the law of the land, not just in West Virginia. The cutoff for it should be a more modern 5 years. Once declared void, anyone in prison on a past conviction should be released.

End the imprisonment of people engaging in sharp business practices.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 5, 2013 6:29:13 PM

Holder says "To be effective, federal efforts must also focus on prevention and re-entry." Maybe the AG and others can formulate a workable scheme for successful re-entry -- they have the means and control the capital. But there zero chance of the AG and the DOJ can do much for crime prevention. Poverty breeds over-population. See, Barry Commoner,Malthus, et al. Over-population breeds crime and other social ills such as a defective family dynamic. Unless we can collectively get a handle on poverty, criminogenic factors and concomitant unemployment the United States will not be productive in the area of "crime prevention"

Posted by: ? | Nov 5, 2013 9:35:28 PM

?: Absolutely no. Poverty is a not a cause of crime. Prior to the Revolution, people in Egypt made $1000 a year, had 8 kids, with prices the same all over the world, lived on graves, rummaged through trash.

Low crime rate by population survey conducted by the UN.

In the US, there is no poverty. And there is massive criminality. Welfare benefits can be duplicated only with a $60,000 a year pre tax income, making the welfare population among the richest people in the world. Poverty in the US is a lifestyle choice, as you would choose marina living over golf course living. They prefer the full time Roman Orgy lifestyle, and to shoot people who say the wrong thing to them holding a Nine sideways. The poor of the US are all assholes. The lawyer puts out propaganda to foster government dependence, to empower the profession which has fully infiltrated and makes 99% of policy decisions.

In the US, the poor are fat. You cannot be fat and poor. The leases in the ghetto are not cheap. It is a lifestyle community of like minded people. If they try to live elsewhere, even with cheaper rents, the neighbors would repeatedly call the police and eventually drive them out due to their acting out, every day. In the ghetto, you just don't do crime in the face of the police, and you will be left alone to kill, steal, get high, have sex orgies at 12, get high every day, fight. Being 12 and in the ghetto is a blast. Sex and making money is more fun than school.

A kid made $2 million a year stealing cars on commission from body repair shops. How was your year?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 6, 2013 1:23:58 AM

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