The First 72 Hours of freedom !!!

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The First 72 Hours of freedom !!!

Post  Yoke on Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:14 am

The first 72 hours of freedom are a crucial time for a recently released prisoner. Will the person find a home? Will he or she fall back into old ways? The answers are often revealed in the first three days.

Immediately upon release, parolees begin laying the roots for their new life. They make choices in those first hours on how they'll live their life, and sometimes it can go very wrong very fast. Parolees in their first two weeks have a death rate that is 13 times higher than their peers. One-third of people who get rearrested after release are back inside within 30 days. On the flip side, the seeds of successful reentry are planted in these first three days as well.

And here's a shocker: we're not doing a very good job of preparing prisoners for release.

So, how to improve? The answers seem surprisingly achievable.

A recent Stanford study concluded that preparing prisoners for their first three days of freedom won't take a complete overhaul of the system. Careful planning and better communication between agencies providing support services can go a long way toward helping released prisoners build new lives.

An intense focus on these first 72 hours will help corrections officials and agencies better serve their clients. And beyond this, the Stanford study hypothesizes that the "thought experiment" of honing in on such a tiny window will reveal deeper issues underlying reentry and recidivism:

A close focus on the ground-level realties of those first 72 hours often opens up larger issues bearing on longer-term reentry. Even something so specific as determining who will pick the parolee up at the bus station may be an open window to such questions as whether the parolee’s family can prove a help or hindrance to reentry, and about whether local agencies are sufficiently staffed and responsive to help guide the parolee...

The focus on coordinating the first 72 hours illuminates gaps in the information sharing networks that are often critical to a parolee’s success. For example, very little is known about the information that parolees are given at the moment of release about services available in the community. In addition, it appears that many county agencies are not involved, or are only very indirectly involved, in the reentry work of state parole authorities. So, trying to improve mechanisms for the parolee’s immediate first contacts with local services and housing agencies may expose problems of information sharing and coordination that need to be addressed more holistically by a county or municipality.

Information sharing and improved planning may be pie in the sky requests for the myriad government agencies involved in this work (if the CIA and FBI can't talk, how can we get a parole officer and a housing agency to the table?) But this report's suggestion to focus on the first three days could be a key to bringing diverse stakeholders to the table to discuss the larger issues underlying recidivism.

It's an idea worth watching.

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Re: The First 72 Hours of freedom !!!

Post  Caresse1970 on Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:49 pm

@ Yoke,

I have printed this out and send it to Leonard. This is very interesting.

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