Release and Reentry

  • Jada Hector
  • David Khey


Reentering society can be one of the most difficult obstacles a justice-involved person can face in their lifetime. All facets of one’s life change instantly upon release from prison. The controlled environment of a prison facility allows an inmate to create a routine and have stability in relationships and daily activities. A person behind bars knows exactly when the next phone call to a loved one will take place, the next meal, activity time, etc. These things are no longer regular, or controllable, on the outside in society. Often times, individuals struggle in the chaos that exists outside the prison walls. The best chance for success involves planning and preparing for those changes and learning coping skills to handle them in a healthy manner. Unfortunately, this is not always realistic on many levels. The most comprehensive evaluation of prisoner (e.g., excludes jail inmate) recidivism available reveals that 30.4% of prisoners return to prison within a year, 43.3% return in 2 years, 49.7% return in 3 years, 52.9% return in 4 years, and 55.1%—over half—return in 5 years (Durose, Cooper, & Snyder, 2014). If one simply looks at prisoners being arrested after release, many of which require stays in jail as arrestees await criminal justice processing, the statistics are even bleaker: 43.4% are arrested within a year, 59.5% within 2 years, 67.8% within 3 years, 73.0% in 4 years, and 76.6% in 5 years. Further, a large proportion of individuals rearrested after release from prison are drawn back into the criminal justice system (including jails and diversion programs), typically through a sanction by the court and/or by probation/parole violations and revocations. Ultimately, the plan to reduce contact with the criminal justice system exists within the transition planning before, in the moment of, and after release from incarceration, with the courts and probation/parole being key players in the reentry movement. This needs to include both jails and prisons, but importantly, it needs to include a mental health element more substantial than just attending to substance abuse treatment issues.


Stigma Reentry Collateral consequences Vocational training Education Transition period Limited resources Multifaceted programs Collaborative partnerships Pro-social relationships Justice-community partnerships Barriers Employers Disenfranchisement Recidivism 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jada Hector
    • 1
  • David Khey
    • 2
  1. 1.New OrleansUSA
  2. 2.University of LouisianaLafayetteUSA

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