Peer Review for Classmate Research Proposal – Peer 1

| June 19, 2015

Project description

Perform a peer review for your classmate’s research proposal on an actual community issue/ organization problem. Your responses to each paper should be 400-500 words long; comments and corrections you make on the paper directly using track changes count toward this word count. You are welcome to exceed this word count! This is just the minimum.

Please respond to the following questions. It is expected your responses to your peers’ papers will be well-developed and presented in complete sentences with appropriate detail; your response word count must not include the question itself:

1. Does the introduction clearly announce the topic and engage the readers interest? If no, why not. If yes, what is engaging and interesting?

2. Is there a clear sense of purpose throughout the writing? Do you understand the problem and the solution being presented? Why or why not?

3. Is the solution effectively presented? Why or why not

4. Are sources integrated into the proposal? Are they effective? Why or why not?

5. How could the author improve the paper? Please offer at least two concrete suggestions.

6. Do you consider this paper to be responsive to the assignment? If not, what recommendations do you have for making it meet the assignment requirements?

7. Provide additional suggestions or comments here. As you are reviewing papers, think about this: what would you want to know about the paper you are reviewing if you were its author? In other words, provide useful, helpful, applicable advice to one another.

8. Make actual grammar errors correction on the paper itself by utilizing comments section on the paper (Word feature)

Abstract

Recidivism rates are high all over and actions need to be taken in order to decrease these statistics. In my community of Harford County Maryland the detention center should implement resources to help inmates work through some of the problems that they have as well as prepare themselves for life after incarceration while they are still serving their sentence. To accomplish overall success in reducing recidivism rates local rehab and therapist should come in twice a week to offer their services to inmates. Also professors and teachers should be able to come into the jail and offer their services so inmates are able to receive their GED or Associates Degree. The desired result of these new implications would be that when these individuals are released, they will be better prepared to be an active member in society and participate in the work force.

Mr. Jeff Gahler

Chief Deputy of Harford County Detention Center

45 South Main Street

Bel Air, MD 21014

Subject: Proposal to implement Help Resources for Inmates

Dear Chief Officer Jeff Gahler,

After careful consideration and research, I have concluded that if the Harford County Detention Center were to provide those incarcerated with resources to better themselves such as education, rehab, therapy, and job search facilities the recidivism rate in this area would greatly decrease.

Although recourses similar to the ones that I would like to implement already exist after an inmate’s sentence is served and they are released, I believe if they were provided during incarceration it would not only make the inmates time productive but also lessen the chances of them committing a crime after they are released.

At the start of the new 2015 year, actions should be taken to provide these inmates with the resources necessary to start a better life post incarceration. These actions should include twice a week rehab specialist as well as therapist coming in and offering their services to inmates. Professors, tutors and teachers available to help inmates receive whatever schooling they need such has GED, or Associates Degree. Also, job consolers do discuss possible employment opportunities for the inmates post jail. Overall if these new services were provided to inmates the recidivism rate will decrease dramatically and inmates will become better citizens post incarceration.

Cordially,

Abigail M. McSorley

Decreasing Recidivism Rates in the Community

Recidivism relates to previous inmates relapsing and ending up back in jail within the a few years after their previous sentence. While halfway houses provide help for individuals once they are released from jail, the facilities are not easily provided therefor allowing ex-prisoners to relapse and fall into their own habits. If help was offered to the inmates during their time of incarceration they would not only be making good use of their time in jail but also working hard on bettering themselves so that when they are released they are ready to face the real world and be an active member in the modern work force. Programs such as rehabilitation and therapy can provide their services inside the jails to help overcome addiction, or any internal problems they may be facing. Local professors and teachers can offer schooling for those who need it. Providing inmates with the tools such as courses to take and teachers and tutors available to receive their GED or college Associates Degree will make them more competitive when they are finished their sentence and able to participate in society post incarceration. A lot of previous inmates have difficulty finding job opportunities after imprisonment due to their past. Implementing services and job fair opportunities to inmates while they are serving their sentence will better prepare them for the workforce. Having a job already lined up when they are released will give them an incentive to be well behaved for the remainder of their sentence as well as keeping them out of trouble which ultimately creates success.

According to The Berkley Journal of Criminal Law (2009), “The most recent accounting by the CDCR puts the total number of parole returns at 93,279 of the total number that entered prison in 2007. These figures indicate that only a fraction of ex-prisoners are successfully restored to society, regardless of the underlying causes of recidivism.” This statistic shows that that it is very unlikely that people will be successful after prison and not end up back. Although these states are from a prison in California the information stands clear on the fact that if action during incarceration is not take to better these inmates they will wind up back in jail within a few years after being preciously released. The overall goal of these “Adult Programs” are the following: “Provide effective evidence based programming to adult offenders, create strong partnerships with local government, community based providers, and the communities to watch offenders return in order to provide services that are critical to offenders’ success on parole, and establish and nurture collaborative partnerships linking Department facilities and communities in which they are located.” While these are great goals to have and I agree that they should be achieved, I face the same concern that is imposed in this journal of “What Works?” This question leads me to a journal written by Przybylski, “What works”. Research has been done for more than thirty years that provides effective programs that can be used to reduce recidivism. These programs involve education and vocational programming, substance abuse treatment, drug courts, sex offender treatment, mental health treatment, cognitive-behavioral programs, programs for juvenile offenders, as well as many others. When inmates have access to these types of help programs during their sentence they may be able to fix some of the problems that they had coming into jail then leave a better version of themselves.

According to Skorton and Altschuler (2013), “in New York State, forty percent of all inmates who are released will wind up back in prison within three years. An inmate’s ability to make it on the outside depends on whether he is returning to a stable family, whether he has mental health of substance abuse issues, and on his education and employment-related skills.” With the way the job market has been within recent years it is not only hard for ex-inmates to find jobs but also for the entire population. With that being said since it is so hard to find a job in general, the chances of an ex-prisoner finding a job without proper education are very low. Studies were done in Missouri that proved that the chances of inmates being able to find a job post prison increased if they completed an education while incarceration. “A 2005 analysis of 15 other such studies found that, on average, re-incarceration rates for participants in prison education programs were 46 percent lower than non-participants.” A good amount of prisoners do not even have a high school degree let alone any sort of college degree. Without having the minimum credentials to find a suitable job after prison, these inmates have a greater chance of doing something the wind up back in jail. If programs were offered to help the inmates earn their desired degree, perusing further education after jail is not always necessary.

While serving time in prison is definitely without a doubt a punishment it also should be a learning experience for inmates. The time spend while incarceration should be used efficiently and purposefully. Rather than the time going to waist, prisoners should be working on themselves and shifting their values and preferences so that when their sentence comes to an end and they are released into society they can be better people. Data from the Urban Institute of Reentry Roundtable written by Freeman (2003), shows that within three years of being release at least two-thirds of prisoners are re-arrested and one-half are re-incarcerated. These statistics also show that upward about 75%-80% of released prisoners are most likely to be arrested once again within at least a decade of being previously released.

In a study conducted by the Urban Institute, Visher, Debus, and Yahner (2008), a sample of 740 men who had recently been released from prison and returned home was taken. These men were all ethnically diverse and around the average of 35 years of age. About a quarter of these men were married with children at home. The majority of these individuals had jobs prior to serving their sentence and now 70% say that they believe their criminal record greatly affected the likelihood of them getting hired. Many of these participants explained that their parole officer helped them finding employment but the job search process was still very difficult. By the time prisoners get out of jail they do not have months and months to sit and find a job. If programs were implemented during their time of incarceration to assist prisoners in the job search most of them would already have job lined up and waiting for them when their sentence is over.

In my community of Harford County Maryland there is a variety of different kind of halfway houses, sober living facilities, and rehab and therapy available to residents. There are resources available that help people with getting over addiction as well as providing a place to live for a desired amount of time before being able to support themselves. With that being said most of these helpful resources are offered to inmates post incarceration. By the time a lot of these people are released from jail the first thing that is on their mind may be getting back to their old habits or ways. While prison is a punishment it should also be a learning environment where inmates are able to grow as people and better themselves mentally. If these programs were to be offered to inmates during the time of their sentence they may be mentally more stable coming out of jail and therefor able to live a normal life without addiction or mental illness. People like therapist, teachers and career advisors should offer their services to inmates located in the local Harford County Detention Center a few times a week to inmates who want the assistance. This would decrease the likelihood of the inmates being released from jail and going right back down the wrong pathway due to lack of helpful resources.

Recidivism has always been a problem in not only my community but many others as well. In order to decrease the statistics and better the place where we live as well as help inmates out who genuinely want the help services and resources must be provided. As citizens we cannot ask for people to be better in our community if we are not willing to look at it from all angles and provide the necessary resources to do that. By giving individuals who are incarcerated the opportunity to get an education and fix whatever addictions or mental illnesses that they may have we are bettering the place that we live in. I can imagine that it is hard for any prisoners to sit locked up in a cell for any given amount of time and have hope for a good life in the future after incarceration without the necessary tools to achieve that. The recidivism rates will continue to remain the same in my community unless programs are implemented during the time of and inmate’s sentence.

References

Berkley Journal of Criminal Law. (2009). Mental illness in prison: inmate rehabilitation &

correctional officers in crisis. Berkeley Journal. 14, 1-27.

Freeman, R. (2003). Employment Dimensions of Reentry:Understanding the nexus between

prisoner reentry and work. Urban Institute Reentry Roundtable. 1-19.

Przybylski, R. (2008). What works. The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice. 1-154

Skorton, D. Altschuler, G. (2013). College behind bars: how educating prisoners pays off.

Forbes. 1.

Visher, C. Debus, S. Yahner, J. (2008). Employment after prison: a longitudinal study of

releasees in three states. Urban Institute Justice Policy Center. 1-9.

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