Monday, February 7, 2011

What Happens When They Get Out?

Every time someone starts talking about sentencing reform, releasing prisoners early, or making a reform retroactive, someone else is bound to ask:  "But what will happen when they get out?"

The question is a good one, but the implied answer is "something bad."  But it ain't necessarily so.

Over at FAMM's website, visit our new section of Success Stories, which profile formerly incarcerated people who got out of prison and are doing great -- they've reunited with families, gotten jobs, stayed drug-free, served their communities, and raised awareness about the need for more access to drug treatment and alternatives to long prison sentences.  Some of these success stories got out of prison early because of a reform -- and none have reoffended.

We don't hear these kinds of success stories -- we usually only hear the bad stories of people who reoffend, because that's the kind of story that appeals to the media.  Recidivism rates are high, but it's important to remember that there are many, many successful former prisoners out there -- and they are living proof that people can change, that rehabilitation isn't just wishful thinking, that people need and deserve second chances.