How Prisoner Re-entry Movement Faces Its Biggest Test in California


California, the nation’s largest jailer. which is looking to move as many as 33,000 prisoners out of state penitentiaries over the next year, will provide the clearest look at how ready many criminals are to be on the outside – and society’s readiness to have them there, says the Christian Science Monitor. John Cadogan typifies those who will help determine the success of California’s plan. A burly former tradesman with a sleeve of tattoos, Cadogan faces a quandary. He is within weeks of being released from prison, where he has been serving time on drug charges.

In a counseling session, he asks his therapy group what to do about his ex-girlfriend. She wants to get together with him when he gets out, but she’s using meth, Cadogan says, which is his former drug of choice. Should he do it? Cadogan says he’d like to see her briefly and then concentrate on his drug-treatment program. “I’m going to come back clean, I guarantee you that.” The 14 inmates in the room are skeptical. “What if she don’t agree with what you’re talking about and she starts some [stuff] with you and the police come?” one prisoner asks.

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