When Punitive Policies Backfire
This chapter presents concluding remarks, reflecting on the political and practical challenges, as well as the potential payoffs, of enhancing reentry strategies. For most offenders, corrections does not correct. Indeed, the conditions in the United States under which many inmates are handled are detrimental to successful reintegration, and many of the restrictions placed on returning prisoners prove deeply counterproductive. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of U.S. crime policy since the 1980s has been the gradual chipping away of individualized decision making and its replacement with one-size-fits-all laws and policies. Parole and reentry services of the future must focus on linking offenders with community institutions. This means reaching outside the criminal justice system to other units of government and the community: churches, ex-prisoner self-help groups, families, and nonprofit programs.
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