Shocking stats

So I have been doing my research on the challenges that offenders face when exiting prison. It’s shocking but not really surprising that:

The Urban institute (2007) reports the following information on soon-to-be released inmates from state prisons: 70% are high school dropouts; 50% are functionally illiterate; 19% have less than 8 years of education; and the pre-incarceration employment rates of offenders are lower than the employment rates of the general U.S. Population. Also, only 27% of soon-to-be-released inmates reported they participated in vocational programs and 35% of them reported they participated in educational programs.

Getting prisoners to participate in programs that they need more than anybody takes intrinsic motivation. Nobody can decide for them. One would think that they would jump at the program opportunities that they are offered, but they do not. I wonder why this is. It might be different values? Or it might just be laziness. Or it might be that they plan on going right back to the same thing that they were doing before (breaking the law. Perhaps robbing people). I am going to do more research on why the majority of inmates don’t participate in vocational programs and college programs. I want to find out why this is and how it can change.

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Attempting to use evidence-based practices at work

So last night was interesting. It is quite difficult to use these practices with some of the offenders that I work with. It seems like they just don’t care and it really is hard to get them to understand that they have a choice in their actions. Either they can follow the rules of the prison or they can get a “charge”. A charge is basically a written report where there are penalties that are dealt with inside the prison such as a $12 fine (which is a lot for somebody making $0.27 an hour) or cell restriction where they have to stay in their cell. It appears that a lot of offenders don’t realize that they are punishing themselves by choosing not to obey the rules. I will write more based on my research of evidence-based practices and applying it at work.

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Hello, World!

My name is Linda Amara. I am a corrections officer majoring in Criminal Justice. I am focusing on evidence based practices introduced in the Virginia Department of Corrections for the purpose of reducing recidivism and helping offenders successfully re-enter society. I am interested in the Virginia Adult Re-entry Initiative (VARI) and hope to one day counsel offenders. These inmates will eventually be our neighbors and their rehabilitation is important for our communities.

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