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July 3, 2013

Life after prison: Local judge says funding makes it tough to keep people from coming back



“You have to put money into the re-entry process to help them succeed, which in the long run saves money because they’re not going back to prison,” Farrell said. “People want to help and we know how to help. We need resources to do it. But understand giving these resources is just not politically popular.”



While treating addiction lowers the recidivism rate, finding a job still remains one of the fundamental factors to a released inmate’s long-term success. Courts stress its importance as well, normally making it a mandatory element of probation. 

In addition, some prisoners must pay back the county or state for their treatment plans and court fees. Inability to find work, and thus earn money, can make these requisites difficult to accomplish. 

In a Population Reference Bureau article, authors Tyjen Tsai and Paola Scommegna paint a picture of the schooling of an average prisoner. Most have the education level of a 10th grader with 70 percent having failed to obtain a high school diploma. Both realities only hurt the released prisoner’s chances of finding a job.

While in the final months of prison, the Indiana Department of Correction does work with the men and women on gathering important documents like state-issued IDs or birth certificates that might make finding employment a little easier. Job training and other educational programs are available, too, depending on the amount of time of the sentence and the holding facility. 

“I think the key thing is employment. If they don’t have the financial means to support themselves, they’re going to revert to criminal activity,” Moore said. “If you really look at the big picture here, you’re missing a lot of the potential employment pool that might be good employees because they have to [be]. We’re holding them accountable.”

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