A Better Way to Keep People From Going Back to Prison

This article from www.ssir.org is written by Amy Barch.

Most programs that try to help formerly imprisoned people re-enter society and avoid reincarceration have been far from successful. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may help turn the tide.

Criminal justice in the United States is in desperate need of reform. The nation has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Twenty percent of all of the world’s prisoners are found in this country. And despite the US spending $80 billion a year on incarcerating people, it fails at rehabilitation: Of the 600,000 people released from prisons each year, 67 percent of them are re-arrested within three years. Within nine years, it’s 83 percent.

If the US is going to end mass incarceration, we must do more to keep people from returning to prison. There are hundreds of organizations across the country working on the problem, but they have yet to make meaningful progress. Reentry programs—efforts to integrate former prisoners with society outside of bars— are often found to be ineffective.

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