I knew one inmate who immediately went to a bar, bought a few beers and was back in custody in less than twenty-four hours. What would you do if you had no where to go, no identification, no friends, no food and you were also saddled with medical and mental problems?
When an individual leaves prison on expiration or on parole, like all human beings , they first need their basic needs met. It never made sense to me that there was not a transition program for an inmate who had served years, sometimes decades before they were released if they wanted them to have any chance of not getting in trouble and bouncing right back into prison.
That’s when I found out that Nevada is one of the few states that has the department of ‘corrections’ and the department of parole and probation run by two separate entities. Now it made more sense to me why the system didn’t work. The prison kept them behind bars, but wasn’t vested in helping them transition so they could have a successful parole program and the parole department wasn’t invested in helping them succeed on parole because they could easily violate them and dump them back into prison.
I asked an ex-warden why the corrections system truly didn’t have an integrated system like other states. A system where they operated under one entity with a clear vision of how to keep society safe and do it in a way which helped inmates stay out of trouble and out of prison. He told me it all had to do with ‘turf’ .
What will it take to work together for a common goal that is more cost effective and actually reduces recidivism?