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PUBLICATIONS

Parole and Re-Entry

THE ISSUE. “Reentry” is the term used to describe the process of reintegrating criminal offenders back into their communities. A proper parole system must include effective reentry programs. If not, a state will have spent money to incarcerate and release an offender without making any effort to limit his or her potential to re-offend. This would not serve public safety interests, and it would be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

THE IMPACT. If used wisely, parole – the supervised release of prison inmates before the end of their sentence – can help transition offenders into lives as free men and women. A 2005 Urban Institute study of data collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics determined that women, individuals with few prior arrests, property offenders, public order offenders, and technical violators (those who violate conditions of community supervision, but do not otherwise commit new crimes), are less likely to be arrested again if they undergo parole supervision at the end of a prison term. For these offenders, parole and reentry programs are a wise use of taxpayer dollars. The Urban Institute study also concluded, however, that violent criminals and drug offenders do not benefit from parole supervision. For these offenders, treatment and/or incarceration may be more sensible approaches.

One key to an effective system of parole is proper monitoring. Inmates who are released on parole should receive regular supervision – in the form of in-person or phone check-ins – to make sure they are employed and maintain a permanent residence. In addition, some offenders may be required to attend regular substance abuse or psychiatric counseling. These services should aid the offender’s reentry into his or her community, with an objective of having someone become a productive citizen rather than a re-offender. Parolees who fail to meet the conditions of their release or who commit another offense while released should be returned to prison.

Smart parole policies not only advance public safety, they are considerably cheaper than incarceration. In the state of Texas, for example, parole costs $4 dollars per day per offender, whereas incarceration costs $50.

THE CONSERVATIVE SOLUTION.

• Use evidence-based methods, such as risk assessments, to determine who would benefit from parole and who would not benefit.

• Allow parole only for certain non-violent offenders, and encourage the use of intermediate sanctions facilities, rather than prisons, for these parolees when they commit technical violations rather than new crimes.

• Utilize GPS technology to monitor those on parole, which is more efficient and effective than phone check-in.

• Expand the use of ignition interlock devices for DWI offenders who are on parole.

• Implement cost-effective technologies (such as bracelets) which monitor blood-alcohol levels through an offender’s sweat and continuously send the results back to parole officers.  Also, consider requirements that offenders regularly be tested for sobriety in-person (e.g., South Dakota’s 24-7 Sobriety Program).

• Reduce the potential tort liabilities to employers for negligent hiring suits. Reduced tort liability will make employers more likely to hire parolees. Statistics show that parolees with good, steady jobs are less likely to reoffend.

EVENT: Kentucky Employer Engagement Forum

Tonya Kerr | November 19, 2021
Please join Right on Crime for an important conversation about the importance of Second Chance Hiring. Labor shortage? Supply chain chaos? Businesses around the nation face workforce shortages and…

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Scott Peyton | September 9, 2021
Tackling the complexities of reentry is an issue facing Mississippi—as well as every other state in our nation. As I testified this week before a Mississippi State Legislature joint…

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Scott Peyton | March 19, 2021
Recently, a narrative has emerged alleging that the 2017 Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) legislation, which passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support, has contributed to gun violence in the Pelican State.…

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Scott Peyton | January 22, 2021
Many justice-involved individuals face collateral consequences because of their criminal conviction. In a recent report titled “Employment Opportunities for Justice-Involved Individuals,” Right on Crime partnered with Recidiviz to provide…

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Scott Peyton | November 23, 2020
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Chelsea Murphy | November 20, 2020
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Chelsea Murphy | November 12, 2020
I have enjoyed co-hosting a weekly radio program on iHeartRadio WFLA Orlando 93.1 FM/540AM and News Talk Florida WHBO across Tampa Bay, called A Neighbor’s Choice. This week I…

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Scott Peyton | November 9, 2020
Many Louisiana residents are gainfully employed in the oil, gas, and maritime industry, particularly related to Louisiana’s ports. In fact, these jobs account for nearly 800,000 Louisiana jobs. Not…

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Scott Peyton | October 9, 2020
The way Americans conduct business has certainly changed due to COVID-19 concerns. The criminal justice system has had to undergo changes to accommodate necessary safety precautions to protect against…

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Scott Peyton | September 30, 2020
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Worker Opportunity Tax Credit: A $4.9 Billion Value

Scott Peyton | September 18, 2020
Justice-involved individuals face significant barriers to employment. Unemployment for justice-involved individuals is a major predictor of recidivism. Businesses that offer a second chance to a qualified, justice-involved candidate can…
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