The Dubious Track Record of Offender Rehabilitation

Is an honest discussion about offender rehabilitation programs possible?

The collective data indicate that programs for offenders either don’t work, or make things worse, or have very limited results.

If we support offender rehabilitation, we need to question current results. We need to demand better answers. If we don’t, nothing will change.

President Trump advocated for offender rehabilitation in his State of the Union speech.

From the Crime Report

“[P]resident Trump cited prisoner reentry in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, but it was only a one-line mention. This year we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance,” the president said. Conservative reform advocates made much out of that one sentence.

Mark Holden of Koch Industries said Trump’s remark was “very encouraging and we look forward to continuing to work with the White House, the administration, members of Congress and states to make this vision a reality nationwide,” reports Reason.

“We are incredibly pleased that President Trump took time this evening to recognize the importance of reforming our corrections policies, said Brooke Rollins, President and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.”

“Pat Nolan of the American Conservative Union Foundation’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform, called Trump’s comment “a milestone in the growing conservative movement to apply conservative principles to our justice system. Our reforms reflect our values of accountability for both offenders as well as government agencies, support for crime victims, treating each person with dignity and offering a second chance.” The Crime Report.

My question, do offender rehabilitation programs reduce recidivism?

Do Offender Programs Work?

I support programs for offenders. Most in the criminological community support programs. I have repeatedly asked if society wants people coming out of prison to be free of mental health and substance abuse issues. Who would say no to that?