Thinking About Prison Release and Budget Crisis in the Blue Grass State
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As of 2003, nearly every state in the country is in budget crisis, looking to cut spending or raise taxes, or both. Kentucky is currently facing a severe budget crisis and is seeking ways to lower its prison costs. We interviewed prisoners, parolees, and correctional staff. Our focus is on reentry and structural problems contributing to parole failure. The discussion is organized around the following themes: the lack of meaningful prison programs, preparing for release from prison, problems finding employment, the parolee relationship with parole officers, the need for protection from minor parole violations, loss of credit for good time served on parole, and the lack of economic resources. Based on our findings, 10 recommendations are offered that, if implemented, would serve to lower the prison population, and save the taxpayers millions of dollars. While the research was conducted in one state the discussion may be generalized to apply to many states.