Posted by | July 5, 2012 16:57 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

The problems with our criminal justice system are legion. One big one is that our penal system trains people more effectively to be better criminals than to be better citizens. Recidivism is thus rampant. The Department of Justice is trying to do something about it.

The DOJ asserts that smoothing the path to reentry will lower recidivism and help reduce overall crime rates. Roughly 40% of prisoners are reincarcerated within three years of release.

However, according to a 2009 study, young and or violent offenders who can remain arrest-free for eight years after release are no more likely to commit future offenses than members of the general public. This time frame drops to three to four years for older offenders.

 We need to take down barriers to employment and to reintegration into society for those who have paid their debt and served their time.  It makes economic sense and it is the right thing to do.

By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.