Incarceration Rates Raise Red Flags Around the Country
According to the National Reentry Resource Center, approximately one of every 201 U.S. residents is held in federal and state corrections facilities. This alarmingly high rate of incarceration has raised red flags around the country. Peter Wagner, Executive Director of the Prison Policy Institute, points out this disparity. He points out, “other than the United States, most of the countries with high incarceration rates have had a very recent social trauma,” like civil wars. Compared to other countries in social turmoil like Mexico, the U.S. incarceration rate is nearly 3.5 times higher. What’s more, mass incarceration is disproportionately affecting poor communities, minorities, and people with mental illnesses.
Building Blocks Counseling offers support that builds upon mutual effort from the individual. These programs tend to be most effective in teaching skills, maintaining engagement, and creating change that is sustainable so that supports can gradually decrease over time. As Wes Perdue, Operations Director with BBC said, “the goal when our clients work with BBC is for them to take their life into their own hands.”
One example of this is BBC’s involvement in the Angel Initiative, in partnership with law enforcement to offer mental health support services instead of incarceration.
The 2004 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics in Drug Use and Dependence in State and Federal Prisoners stated that half the people in Federal prisons are there for drug charges and nearly half of all prisoners in state prisons are locked up for non-violent offenses. Also, 17% of state and 18% of federal prisoners committed their crime to obtain money for drugs. Once people are out of prison and try to reintegrate themselves into society, stigma and lack of skills prevent them from finding stable employment and housing. This can cause them to become one more number in the recidivism statistics and return to prison. Treatment and prevention programs are necessary to give individuals a second chance. Let them know that there’s hope for a better life