Thursday, June 8, 2006
On June 8, after a year-long inquiry, The Vera Institute of Justice's Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons released Confronting Confinement, a report on violence and abuse in U.S. jails and prisons; the broad impact of those problems on public safety and public health; and how correctional facilities nationwide can become safer and more effective.
According to the Commission, 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the United States on any given day. 750,000 men and women work in correctional facilities. The annual cost: more than 60 billion dollars. Yet within three years, 67 percent of former prisoners will be rearrested and 52 percent will be re-incarcerated. Policy makers at all levels of government and in both political parties joined the Commission to measure the effectiveness of the American approach to incarceration through the Confronting Confinement report.
The report focuses on four problem areas:
- Dangerous conditions of confinement: violence, poor health care, and inappropriate segregation
- The challenges facing labor and management
- Weak oversight of correctional facilities
- Serious flaws in the available data about violence and abuse.
In response to these problems, the Commission offers 30 pragmatic recommendations for reform, many of them based on good practices and exemplary leadership in particular correctional facilities around the country. Full Report [Mark Godsey]