With the new year comes new hopes for changes in our prison system. Throughout the continuing Covid crisis, budget issues have reared its head time and again, spurring deeper consideration about how to reduce prison populations. Several options have come up and all of them worth valid discussions. Concepts like parole, resentencing, more time awarded for good behavior, age related release, reduction of sentencing enhancements, and juvenile reform (which is among the most needed) are being talked about among the free world and inmates alike. But among all of these viable options, there’s not a lot of talk about how to support the implementation.
As it stands currently, the budget constraints have impacted the amount of staff available on a daily basis. This includes counseling staff that are responsible for the guidance of an inmate’s prison sentence and, ultimately, their release. Most counselors are already behind in routine reviews and the legislated process for release is so cumbersome that it takes a lot of resource to get someone out of prison. If the system is already under pressure, how will adding more need for release involvement by staff help? I understand that there are lot of moving pieces in the background that inmates aren’t allows to know, but there really is no talk about HOW to get people out and reduce the runaway prison population. But the talk of the town says that’s it’s coming…. I hope the system can be held accountable for making the people change along with the system.
by Rory Andes
Things need to change…
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