Lack of support from family and friends leads more than half of Illinois parolees to violate parole and return to jail, says Medill Reports. “It is very rare for someone to get out of prison and not to make future mistakes,” said John Maki of the John Howard Association, a prison reform organization. A recent example is an Evanston man arrested Monday and charged with drug dealing while on parole. Tracy Miller, 24, was first arrested for armed robbery and went to prison in 2010. He was released on parole in August 2012, and less than five months later was arrested again and charged with a drug crime that requires prison time and is not subject to probation.
Lack of support from family and friends of the released parolee is the No. 1 cause of parole violation, said Dr. Michael Fields, a clinical forensic psychologist. How long an individual spends in custody is also of major significance. “The longer they stay in prison the more they become institutionalized,” Fields said. Most convicts come from impoverished backgrounds and have limited access to adequate work, which pushes them back into a life of crime, Fields said. When gang members return to their old neighborhoods, they are likely to violate their paroles, Fields said. “It is very difficult for these people to avoid past associations,” Fields said. “Often they do not have the means to move somewhere else,” which is another potential reason that can drag a parolee back to criminal activity.