DOJ Inspector General: Prisons Are Lousy at Preparing Parolees

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Three federal prisons in California and others nationwide appear to be falling short in preparing inmates for safe release into society, reports McClatchy News Service. A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Justice Department’s Inspector General found that most inmates don’t complete the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ formal pre-release program. Individual prisons show “widely inconsistent curricula, content and quality” for the programs. Federal agency coordination is said to be poor. “We found that the program’s overall effectiveness remains largely unknown,” the report concluded.

The findings rely in part on investigators’ evaluations of the Release Preparation Program at federal facilities in Victorville, San Pedro and Los Angeles, among 10 Federal Bureau of Prisons institutions in California. At one institution, the instructor merely read through the handouts for about 20 minutes and the class ended without any of the approximately 20 attendees asking a question. The 48-page report also helps illuminate the prospects for nearly 125,000 federal prisoners released over the last three years. Underscoring the high stakes, a March study cited in the new report found that 49.3 percent of federal offenders released in 2005 were later arrested for new crimes or violations of parole conditions. Of the 68,695 federal prisoners released during fiscal year 2013, 16.4 percent had been returned to federal custody by 2015. “That’s a failure,” said Patrick J. Nolan of the American Conservative Union Foundation. “The whole idea of a corrections department is to correct behavior.”

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