Early Release and Pre Release Programs

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Introduction 

The book “Probation, Parole, and Community Corrections,” by Dean John 2008 was launched to fill the gap on matters concerning probation and parole processes for developing the law on juvenile and adult offenders. The author covered controversial issues regarding offender needs and risks, and various supervisory programs that cover juvenile and adult offenses. Today the book is used to address inmate related issues and solutions and in providing theories for handling crime and rehabilitation process. Based on the book, it is identified that early release programs are vital for allowing releasing an offender from incarceration before they face their actual sentence. When offenders show positive signs of rehabilitated behavior, they can be released through this program to re-enter society quickly. Conversely, pre-release programs apply in the latter stages of prisoner sentencing. These programs are used to prepare a prisoner to reintegrate into society through home confinement to a halfway house. Pre-release programs are vital in assisting offenders with transitional needs to make a foothold in the society prior to being discharged from a correction facility. Despite the importance of these programs in preparing juvenile and adult offenders to re-enter society, some individuals may not live up to the legal expectations and the standards of the program. This implies that the efficiency of the early release and pre-release programs is still doubtable (Champion, 2008). For that reason, the paper aims to evaluate the effectiveness of early release and pre-release programs comprehensively. It will address the political, economic and social liabilities about the programs and discuss the related pros and cons. 

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Early release and pre-release programs, types and uses 

Early release program has four major divisions identified as the educational program, sex offender program, substance abuse counseling program, and therapeutic community substance abuse aftercare treatment program (Champion, 2008). The first program is Community Opportunity Program in Education (COPE). This program is useful in offering comprehensive education for juvenile and adult offenders. It provides cognitive training initiatives to assist the offenders to admit their offense and acknowledge the importance of promoting good conduct in the society (Maruschak& Parks, 2012). 

The second type of program, sex offender program focuses on providing special treatment and supervision on sexual related crimes. This program is useful in the prison department as it enables the management to provide valuable lessons for rehabilitating sexual offender inmates. Using this program, the counselors identify and supervise sex offenders on a current or prior conviction related to a sexual offense (Champion, 2008). The counselors enable the offenders to realize and admit the extent of crime committed and the implication of the behavior to an individual and the society. Then the counselors can guide and reform the offenders for better conducts (Champion, 2008). 

Thirdly, the Substance Abuse Counseling Program (SACP) was established to enable offenders who have been intensively influenced by alcohol and substance use and abuse in reforming (Champion, 2008). Offenders in this category are obliged to attend scheduled cases where they gain knowledge on relapse prevention plans to avoid or reduce misconducts associated with alcohol and drug use. Also, counselors use this program to guide offenders in selecting a support group where the offender are provided with substantial information for mitigating cravings. 

The fourth program is the aftercare treatment program. Counselors use the Therapeutic Community Substance Abuse Aftercare Treatment Program to administer, coordinate, and oversee issues related to substance abuse treatment offered to offenders (Champion, 2008). Also, this program is used to manage, test, and supervise offenders against alcohol and drug use. This program is applicable for both inmates and outpatients. The main objective is to ensure a seamless continuum of care is maintained on the offenders. 

In the pre-release category, there are three major programs. The first program is Substance Abuse and Treatment Programs. Counselors use this program to inform inmates on strategies to overcome cravings for substance use (Champion, 2008). It is a means of encouraging offenders to remain sober, have hope, and develop healthy habits to deal with the addiction on drug use. (Maruschak& Parks, 2012) Besides, offenders rely on this program to recognize the implications of their addictive conducts and then establish positive strategies for self-inventory to avoid re-offending prior to re-entering the society. 

The second type is The Life Skills Program. This program has several categories with different uses. Briefly, the Veterans Benefits Clearinghouse aims at improving the welfare of veterans, and it ensures that inmates can be productive members upon re-entering the society. Another category is the Fatherheart program, which focuses on informing inmates on how to be responsible people in the society (Champion, 2008). For instance, it bridges the responsibility between fathers and sons and informs the importance of adhering to the expectations of good conduct in the society (Maruschak& Parks, 2012). Further, work skills and training program is used to give inmates a common base for obtaining and interpreting the universality of interpersonal capabilities and competencies necessary for success in the workplace and the common good. There are many categories in this under the Life Skills Program to provide awareness and improve productive competence among inmates, prior to re-entering society. 

The final type is Community Based Program. This program has three fundamental categories. The first one is work release program. It focuses on assisting inmates freed from correctional institutions to access employment chances as they attempt to reintegrate into society. Besides, when the conduct of pre-release inmates is approved, this program is vital for accessing productive employments to help them acknowledge their stay at the pre-release center.    A second category is educational and leering release program. Here, inmates with eighteen months of parole are allowed to engage in learning plans outside of their assigned correctional facilities (Champion, 2008). This education and training focus on improving the conducts of the inmates and enabling them to identify a better perceptive about life for their wellbeing (Maruschak& Parks, 2012). Further, the community releasing program is used to assist inmates approved for pre-release to participate in community-related activities for therapeutic nourishment. Through this, an inmate can gain a seamless transition in restoring their conducts in the neighborhoods and families upon re-entering society.

Political liabilities 

The usefulness of the identified programs comes forth with some political and economic limitations while stifling public reactions. In the political scope, the state should exercise full responsibility in supervising the progress of offenders as per the requirements of the early release and pre-release programs at all costs. As identified in an article by Champion (2008), probation and parole programs indicate that the responsible officers have a crucial duty of supervising and controlling offenders upon approval for release or transfer (Petersilia, 2011). The political system of any nation should demonstrate utter awareness of the extent to which it can provide supervision and control on offenders as per the parole programs (Buenger, 2003). Failure to maintain the expected standards on such persons may result in negligence of responsibility and potential liabilities (Champion, 2008).

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To exemplify, we will consider a case in 1984 between Acevedo and Pima County; Adult probation. A case was presented in court accusing Pima County Department of Probation the implications caused due to a negligence of supervision by the probation administration. The course made a ruling that the probation officers were fragile to the liability by the judicial immunity. It was assumed that the offender was responsible for causing sexual assault on children of the plaintiff, yet the probation officer was aware that the offender had a history of sexual deviation more particularly involving children. The probation officers allowed the offender to rent a room in the plaintiffs, who had young children of about 15 years ignoring the fact that the offender should not have any contact with children under 15 years of age (Buenger, 2003). The court identified that the liability of the probation department was based on the relationship between the activities performed and the nature of the political function. Based on the approach, the court decided that the political liabilities of the responsible officers were pronounced since the officers did not adhere to the optical system reading probation and parole programs (Buenger, 2003). 

From the case, it is possible to conclude that the political body of a state has full responsibility of fulfilling their responsibility concerning probation and parole issues. Failure to which can lead to potential political liabilities as identified in the case of Acevedo v Pima County. For instance, a probation officer can account for any liabilities due to failure to conduct the obliged management and supervision of an offender under probation or parole when there is a limited defense for a crime committed by a probationer (Buenger& De Muniz, 2015). 

Economic liabilities 

Economic liabilities associated with probation and parole programs are also pronounced. According to a legal report by Champion (2008), it is noted that majority of the offenders who are approved to reunite with the society suffer from lack of savings, immediate unemployment leverages, and in worst cases, they are not allocated any jobs for self-sustenance. The report identifies that at least sixty percent of the offenders who re-enter the society are unable to secure employment opportunities in a legitimate labor market. These accounts to a large economic liability since in America almost 3.9 million of the populations are paroles and employers cannot afford to offer this population some employment. Based on the findings of a report by Petersilia, (2011), it was identified that employers have a growing concern and fear of recruiting ex-convicts in their organization. In fact, 65 percent of the employers confirmed that provided they were aware that a candidate is an offender under the pre-release program they could deny an opportunity for employment on the individual regardless of the offense that coursed the conviction.  Conversely, about 40 percent of employers confirmed that due to the diminishing employment and competence of current candidates, they would consider reevaluating ex-convicts for employment (Petersilia, 2011). However, the success of this activity was deeply ingrained on stringent circumstances. 

It is noted that probation and parole programs can influence adverse economic liabilities despite the efforts of probation administrators and the offenders to corporate toward facilitating productive conducts. Most of the economic liabilities such as unemployment are closely associated with drug and alcohol abuse and most importantly the fear for potential misconducts. Such economic liabilities affect the ex-offenders immensely and at some point can cause the offender to revert to the unwarranted conducts (Champion, 2008). 

Public reactions to the early release and pre-release programs also demand some addressing. The concerns of the public are usually considered when developing laws to govern probation and parole programs. The public opinion provides that the offenders must be held responsible and they have to overcome the consequences for their indulgence in illegal activities. However, a controversial reaction from the public suggests that much of the state funds are spent on sustaining the welfare of offenders with low risks and non-violent accusations. On that note, the public pleads that such resources sought to be released from the victims and relocated to improve the state of community correction programs concerning probation and paroles. Further, it is noted that with the enhanced systems in the probation and parole programs, current citizens are comfortable with the offenders re-entering the society (Champion, 2008). This is because the offenders have attained the expected levels of reformation and can associate with the community in a friendly and productive manner than before. Therefore, the public intensively supports the idea that offenders with low risk and minimum indicators of violence should be enrolled in the probation and parole programs and be released from the correction facilities in the earliest periods to improve social productivity and reduce economic liabilities in the society. 

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Effectiveness of early release and pre-release programs

Based on the highlights and evaluations provided above, it is apparent that the probation and parole programs have not attained the desired outcomes, and therefore, the effectiveness of the programs is doubtable. Considering the case highlighted for political liabilities, it is evident that not all ex-offender attain complete reformation even after completing the full rehabilitation program (Champion, 2008). This means that the state needs to identify the most imperative approaches for addressing the weaknesses of the programs in reforming the unwarranted behavior exhibited by the offenders upon reentering the society. For instance, the state can implement strict training lesson for probation officers regarding supervision and treatment initiatives to ensure that offenders are guided appropriately through the rehabilitation program. Conversely, the state can enhance the effectiveness of the probation and parole programs to improve economic liabilities by promoting confidence and awareness in the society and employers about the effectiveness of the rehabilitation programs administered to the offenders prior to reentering the society (Champion, 2008). This way, a complete social and economic confidence can be achieved, and the offenders can have better chance to show their productive capabilities and capacities based on the rehabilitation lesson endured in the correction facilities.    

Conclusion

In conclusion, the paper acknowledged the works of Champion (2008) in addressing the issues that limit the effectiveness of probation and parole programs in promoting productive conducts among offender prior to reentering the society from correction facilities. The paper has classified the fundamental programs and their uses in various situations. Further, it has addressed the political and economic liabilities resulting from the programs, while including the public reaction towards the probation and parole programs. Consequently, the paper has identified that the programs have not attained the expected effectiveness. Therefore, the state and probation department sought to collaborate to develop viable solutions concerning the issue to promote productivity entrapped in the offenders and efficiency of the probation and parole programs among the individuals and society.  

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  1. Buenger, M. L. (2003). Interstate Commission on Adult Offender Supervision.Important Liability Considerations for State Officials.Liability Article. 1-18. Accessed from http://www.interstatecompact.org/Portals/0/library/media/articles/ICAOSLiabilityPaper.pdf
  2. Buenger, M., & De Muniz, P. J. (2015).American Judicial Power: The State Court Perspective.Edward Elgar Publishing.
  3. Champion, D. J. (2008).Probation, parole, and community corrections.Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  4. Maruschak, L. M., & Parks, E. (2012).Probation and parole in the United States, 2011.Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
  5. Petersilia, J. (2011). Community corrections: Probation, parole, and prisoner reentry.Crime and public policy, 499-531.
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