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An eye for an eye: A social Justice Presentation. Jennifer Peters Marcel Collins Martin Hammar. “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind .” - Mahatma Gandhi. Overview.

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an eye for an eye a social justice presentation

An eye for an eye: A social Justice Presentation

Jennifer Peters

Marcel Collins

Martin Hammar

  • Unites States contains less than 5% of the world’s population, but incarcerates 25% of the world’s prisoners.
  • In 2002 – Inmates admitted totaled 591,000 and those released totaled 586,000
  • Over 60% of the jail and prison population are non-violent offenders.
  • Recidivism rates are generally not affected by length of sentence

(Schmitt,Warner & Gupta, 2010; Katel, 2009; Savitsky, 2012)

  • More than 2 million prisoners are released each year to their communities.
  • People of color are disproportionately represented within the U.S. criminal justice system.
  • There are now more African Americans in prison and jail, or on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850.
  • 75% of state prisoners do not have their high school diploma.

(Hirsch et al., 2002; Rastogi, et al., 2011)

gender differences
Gender Differences

National survey of prison inmates found highest rate on mental illness was among white females.

Female inmate population is rising faster annually than males

Females of color more likely to be incarcerated

Women are often imprisoned due to crimes committed due to multiple dependence on a man

Domestic violence is often directly or indirectly present as a key factor in a woman’s life course.

(Center for Policy Studies, 2009)

prisoners as parents
Prisoners as Parents
  • 56% of incarcerated adults are parents.
  • 3 million children have an incarcerated parent or one who has been recently released.
  • Stigma created by incarceration makes not only affect parents, but also can trickle down to their children.
  • Many parents lose parental rights to their children before their release from prison.
  • Child support orders often continue to accrue during incarceration.

(Foster & Hagen, 2009; Nasher & Visher, 2006)


Adult/Youth Cohabitation in Prisons

  • Harrison & Kargerg (2004) states that out of an increase of 40,983 prisoners—3,006 were under the age of 18 and another 6,869 were in adult jails

Youth Corrections

  • Costly $88,000/year
  • High recidivism
  • Greater number of ethnic minorities
  • Mostly males
  • High rates of MI & substance use disorders

(Abrams & Snyder, 2010)

historical milestones trends
Historical Milestones & Trends
  • 1984 Sentencing Reform Act imposed mandatory sentencing for specific drug and firearm offenses.
  • In 1996 through welfare reform, people with felony drug convictions were subjected to a lifetime ban from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Food Stamps benefits.
  • Government Institutions
  • Prison Industrial Complex
  • Incarceration among disadvantaged groups resulting in social exclusion has significant impact on communities.
  • Effectively a caste system that promotes preservation of power, prevents social mobility, and dehumanizes subsets of the population.

(Jung, 2011)

collateral sanctions
Collateral Sanctions
  • Housing
  • Entitlement Programs
  • Voting Rights
  • Securing Credit
  • Stigmatization
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Documentation items
  • Loss of child and or family

Sanctions that persist even after a person has completed a sentence.

(Kenemore & Rolden, 2006)

judicial course
Judicial Course
  • Pre-incarceration: Public defenders plea bargain in 95% of cases, lead to the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” (Savitsky, 2012).
  • Incarcerated: States spent an average $22,650 per incarcerated inmate, but budget constraints have resulted in few treatment programs (Katel, 2009).
  • Released: Majority of inmates leave prison with no savings or job prospects. 90% leave with little or no discharge planning(Jung, 2011).
areas of impact
Areas of Impact
  • Depending on your role as a social worker, there will be many different areas that you may be required to intervene. Some examples are:
  • Micro level: Providing or referring for counseling services, aiding in reunification process, and providing pre-release planning to convicts looking to return home.
  • Mezzo level: Advocating for prisons to utilize internet based child and family visitation, establishing community resources to help ease reentry, and providing education to
  • Macro level: Advocating for structural changes to be made to the criminal justice system at the federal and state level, and advocating changing of the entire dynamics of prisons to model: Rehabilitation not Recidivism.
advancing social justice
Advancing Social justice
  • 2nd Chance Act

Re-assess how court costs & fines are handled; funding for reentry program development

(Pogorzelski, Wolff, Pan & Blitz, 2005)

  • Re-entry Programs

Vocational; educational; drug treatment; violent & sex offender treatment; halfway house; and pre-release programs (Bouffard & Bergeron, 2006).

  • Advocacy

Post-release supervision based on risk not sentence (ACTF, 2010)

  • Employment/Education programs

Federal Bonding Program and Post Secondary Program

  • Affordable Healthcare Act

Access to community health/behavioral health services


The goals of the Athens Re-Entry Task Force are to:

1. Improve public safety;

2. Increase ex-offender’s personal responsibility by making restitution to the victims and support of family a priority; and

3. Reduce the overall rate of recidivism.

  • (2010)
politics behavioral health
Politics/Behavioral Health

Sentencing reform;

Reforming collateral sanctions;

Elimination of user fees to fund the criminal justice system;

Reforms to allow more community service work;

Child support reforms;

(ACTF, 2010)

Universal community access to substance abuse treatment programs and requiring DRC to provide more programs such as ABLE and mental health treatment;

Requiring the CDJFS to determine if the ex-offender is disabled; and

Requiring the CDJFS to coordinate the ex-offender’s post-release eligibility for benefits and available services.

Restructure the RECLAIM initiative to remove the incentive for felony charges for youth.

  • Social Worker involvement both while in prison and when the ex-offender is released.
  • Positive peer mentoring: those who have re-entered successfully can mentor peers who are being released.
  • Social worker/outreach center need standardized discharge planning times and locations.
  • Showcasing and educating communities on the positives of successful rehabilitation and reentry
re entry needs
  • Many ex-offenders are released from jail or prison without their basic needs being able to be met or sustained.
  • Documentation can be an issue as most prisoners do not have access to birth certificates, social security cards, etc.
  • Housing can be an issue as some ex-offenders are released with no where to call home.
  • Health Care: some leave with only a few weeks of medication

(Kenemore & Roldan, 2006)

re entry needs1
  • Permanent address: job applications, degrees, certificates, or other mailings. Suggestion: providing ex-cons with a post-office box
  • Transportation: can cause ex-offenders to fail meeting required visitation, hearings, or probation responsibilities. Suggestions: free taxi card or re-entry shuttle services…..
  • Safe house: a central, safe environment just for ex-offenders with a supportive, multi-disciplinary team
re entry needs2
  • Mental Health & Health Needs: Hard to get into providers, much less if you have no insurance or documentation.
  • Fees: Many transactions require fees and often ex-offenders do not have money. Example: Drivers licenses fees
  • Strong Social and Family Attachments: After being isolated for their crimes, coming back to strong, supportive attachments can increase success.

ACTF. (2010). Recommendations from the Athens County Reentry Task Force. Retrieved from

Abrams, L. & Snyder, S. (2010). Youth offender reentry: Models for intervention and directions for future inquiry. Children And Youth Services Review, 321787-1795. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2010.07.023

Alexander, M. (2010). The new jim crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: The New Press

Bouffard, J. A., & Bergeron, L. E. (2006). Reentry works: The implementation and effectiveness of a serious and violent offender reentry initiative. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 44(2), 1-29.

Centers for Policy Studies. (2009). Women, integration, and prison: Research hypothesis. Retrieved from

Foster, H., & Hagan, J. (2009). The Mass Incarceration of Parents in America: Issues of Race/Ethnicity, Collateral Damage to Children, and Prisoner Reentry. Annals Of The American Academy Of Political And Social Science, 179. doi:10.2307/40375895

Ghandi Returns Home. (2000). In L. Glennon(Ed)., The 20th Century: An Illustrated History of Our Lives and Times. (107). N.Digham, MA:J.G. Press.

Hirsch, A. E., Dietrich, S. M., Landau, R., Schneider, P. D., Ackelsberg, I., Bernstien-Baker, J., & Hohnenstein, J. (2002). Every door closed: Barriers facing parents with criminal records. Retrieved from


Jung, H. (2011). Increase in the Length of Incarceration and the Subsequent Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Men Released from Illinois State Prisons. Journal Of Policy Analysis And Management, 30(3), 499-533.

Luther, J. B., Reichert, E. S., Holloway, E. D., Roth, A. M., & Aalsma, M. C. (2011). An Exploration of Community Reentry Needs and Services for Prisoners: A Focus on Care to Limit Return to High-Risk Behavior. AIDS Patient Care & Stds, 25(8), 475-481. doi:

Katel, P. (2009, December 4). Prisoner reentry. CQ Researcher, 19, 1005-1028. Retrieved from

Kenemore, T.,K., & Roldan, I. (2006). Staying straight: Lessons from ex-offenders. Clinical Social Work Journal, 34(1), 5-21. doi:10.1007/s10615-005-0003-7

Kerby, S. (2013, March 13). The top 10 most startling facts about people of color and criminal justice in the united states: A look at the racial disparities inherent in our nation’s criminal-justice system. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from facts-about-people-of-color-and-criminal-justice-in-the-united-states/

Magnani, L. (2011). Market Values Permeate Both Foreign Policies and Prison Policies. Peace Review, 23(3), 279-286. doi:10.1080/10402659.2011.596044

Marbley, A., & Ferguson, R. (2005). Responding to Prisoner Reentry, Recidivism, and Incarceration of Inmates of Color: A Call to the Communities. Journal Of Black Studies, (5), 633. doi:10.2307/40034341


Nasar, R. & Visher, C. (2006). Family Members' Experiences with Incarceration and Reentry. Western Criminology Review, 7(2), 20-31.

ODRC. (2002). The Ohio Plan for Productive Offender Re-Entry & Recidivism Reduction. (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections). Retrieved from:

Rastogi, S., Tallese , J. D., Hoeffel, E. M., & Drewery, M. P. (2011, September). The black population: 2010. Retrieved from

Savitsky, D. (2012). Is plea bargaining a rational choice? Plea bargaining as an engine of racial stratification and overcrowding in the United States prison system. Rationality And Society, 24(2), 131-167.

Schmitt, J., Warner, K., & Gupta S. (2010, June). The high budgetary cost of incarceration. Retrieved from