hands through prison bars

b&b53 The Challenges of Life After Prison | The PIC Series, Part 4

For every one person in prison, there are two people who were formerly incarcerated. That means there are 5 million people in the United States who have to check that box on a job application, 5 million people who struggle to find and keep a place to live, 5 million people who are immediately identified by one of their biggest mistakes. It’s no wonder that 3 out of 4 former inmates end up back in prison within 5 years.

In our final part of our series on the Prison Industrial Complex, we talk about the challenges prisoners face when being released.

Episode Highlights:

Pam: For profit and private prisons actually have significantly more escapes, homicides, assaults, and drug abuse, compared to government run prisons.

Pam: There’s about 4.8 million ex-offenders who are currently under some form of community supervision, which basically means you have a probation officer, so 4.8 million people out there are actually on probation. That is crazy. That equates to, [for] every inmate in our state and federal prisons that means there are two people who are under probation or on parole.

Pam: The Department of Justice started tracking 400,000 prisoners in 2005. In 2014 they just released a study and found that 67.8% of them were re-arrested within three years, and 76% of them were re-arrested within 5 years. Out of 400,000 ex-inmates, 3 out of 4 of them went back to jail within 5 years.

Pam: Part of the reason why it’s really hard for re-entry and why I’m gonna say recidivism again…is that when a prisoner gets released, in Baltimore Maryland on average they receive about $40 when they get released, and on average they owe about $8,000 in child support …They also hope that someone is there to pick them up because they have no way to get to where they’re going, they don’t have a place to live, and it’s that much harder for them to find a job. Because when you’re an ex-con, you have to check a box saying that you were in prison and you were convicted of a felony.

Dyalekt: Protesting, for the most part guys, don’t think of it as the thing that’s gonna win the war you got going on in your head. The protest is not here, for the most part outside of movies and couple of instances in history, really old history mostly, going up and protesting has not ended the thing. You know what it has done? It has introduced you to the person who has another idea for how to reach people, and that other person who has a different idea, and that way you get together your cipher, and as a team you can create something that makes real policy. So don’t think of it as a negative thing, but also don’t think of it as the be-all end-all.

Pam: For three years in a row, the population of American prisons has actually inched down. 13 states closed prisons last year. And Americans are actually becoming more and more lenient overall when it comes to non-violent offenders getting sent to prison. Lawmakers are seeing how expensive it is to keep somebody in prison, and people are starting to recognize that prisons actually feed a cycle of poverty, community dysfunction and crime.