December 24, 2007

Prisoner reintegration: An ethical duty?

The Second Chance Act of 2007 (H.R. 1593) would authorize $340 million in programs to reintegrate prisoners to their communities. Passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and now pending in the Senate, the legislation could present new opportunities for psychologists and other mental health professionals interested in working with high-needs parolees. The upcoming issue of the Federal Sentencing Reporter focuses on re-entry issues. The introductory article, "The Second Chance Act and the Future of the Reentry Movement," is available online. Here is the abstract:
Recently passed by the House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support and currently awaiting action in the Senate, the If enacted, the SCA would represent a new milestone in the growing influence of the prisoner reentry movement, which has focused public attention on the daunting obstacles facing returning prisoners who seek to rebuild their lives as productive citizens. This essay, which introduces a forthcoming issue of the Federal Sentencing Reporter devoted to the SCA and the challenges of reentry, critiques aspects of the SCA, considers the implications of the reentry movement for sentencing, and argues that reentry-based reforms should not be conceptualized primarily as recidivism reduction measures, but as opportunities to fulfill ethical obligations to some of the most marginalized and disadvantaged members of society.
Hat tip to Sentencing Law & Policy.