How We Help Preparing Inmates for Release

Joan Petersilia

in When Prisoners Come Home

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780195160864
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199943395 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Crime and Public Policy

How We Help Preparing Inmates for Release

Show Summary Details


This chapter documents the decline of inmate participation in prison work, treatment, and education programs. It considers these trends in light of the growing amount of research documenting what works, and the changing nature of inmates' characteristics. The data show that U.S. prisons today offer fewer services than they did when inmate problems were less severe, although history shows that not much has been invested in prison rehabilitation. Today, just one-third of all prisoners released will have received vocational or educational training while in prison. And despite the fact that three-quarters of all inmates have alcohol or drug abuse problems, just one-fourth of all inmates will participate in a substance abuse program prior to release. The treatment programs consist mostly of inmate self-help groups rather than the intensive therapeutic communities found to be most effective.

Keywords: inmate participation; prison work; education programs; U.S. prisons; prison rehabilitation; drug abuse; inmate self-help groups

Chapter.  3816 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Theory

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