“What does it really take to keep a person from going back to prison?” asks St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Ruben Rosario. “Resources that work, perhaps faith and prayers, a change in peers or environment, and, most important of all, the willingness and commitment of the offender to do what it takes to make that change. But, like the war on drugs, we’ve been foundering on the sea of inertia in recent decades as more and more folks not only head to lockup but also continue to return.”
Rosario likens the incarceration sytem to baby-sitting for criminals. He writes, “Given that up to 95 percent of offenders eventually return to society, we need to do better…The recession is in one way the best thing that ever happened to community re-entry efforts for offenders. Faced in recent years with shrinking state prison budgets and a rising prison population, both budget-conscious politicians and corrections officials are pushing harder than ever to support cost-effective and evidence-based re-entry initiatives that work.” He cites Minnesota’s Comprehensive Offender Reentry Plan.