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Who Returns to Prison—and Why?

Almost half of federal offenders tracked by a U.S. Sentencing Commission study were back in trouble with the law within eight years of their release—most of them for nonviolent offenses—but their rates of recidivism and reconviction were significantly lower than for state offenders.

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Gang Validation, Good-Time Credit & the ExPost Facto Clause in California’s Prison System

The coming year should be a good one for continuing criminal-justice reform in California. For one thing, the prison population is falling, for the first time in recent memory. Proposition 47 (which makes simple possession of any drug a misdemeanor—and which acts retroactively to reduce the sentences of those previously convicted) is gradually removing possession-only offenders from the state prisons, where most drug-policy experts and an increasing number of law-enforcement officials agree they shouldn’t have been in the first place. […]

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The Interstate Hurdle to Restoring Ex-Offenders’ Legal Rights

As states begin expanding opportunities for ex-offenders to fully reintegrate into society—including restoring their ability to vote and serve on a jury—they will need to mitigate the legal conflicts that arise when formerly incarcerated individuals move from the state where they were convicted, according to a study published in the UC (University of California) Davis Law Review. “Restoration recognition has major practical importance for convicted individuals seeking to reintegrate into society and for a nation grappling with the staggering human […]

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The ‘Psychosocial Stress’ of Prison Overcrowding

Time spent in a crowded prison environment continues to have a negative impact on inmates after their release, contributing to parole violations, according to a study published by the nonprofit advocacy organization PLOS (Public Library of Science). The study, entitled “Does Prison Crowding Predict Higher Rates of Substance Use Related Parole Violations? A Recurrent Events Multi-Level Survival Analysis,” is based on data collected in 2003 and 2004 from 13,070 California parolees. “If crowding does increase a prisoner’s risk of recidivism, […]