Effective crime prevention initiatives should focus on the factors that contribute to manifold criminal activities performed by the same persons who fail in reintegrating back into society after serving their prison sentence. Upon release, it is critical for the offenders to get the necessary support to re-enter and contribute to building their society. They should, be able to integrate as law abiding members of the community (Mingus and Burchfield 98). Where the reintegration goal is not met, the criminals find it hard to break the cycle of release and re-arrest. Hence, effective interventions within the corrections system are necessary because of the critical role that is played by reintegration in society. There is evidence to indicate the criticality of positive reintegration in preventing recidivism, which is a factor behind the increase in the rate of crime in society.
When the factors that predispose an individual to a crime are addressed, positive reintegration becomes successful, and those re-entering the society have the chance to become better members of society. Hence, the correction process should involve a change in behavior and development of an individual to play an important role in building the society following their release. Addressing the physical and social needs of the individuals is the basis for proper reintegration. Hence, although reintegration is a complicated task and there are challenges in measuring the influence of interventions, there is no doubt that reintegration cannot be ignored in society (Davis, Bahr, and Ward 447). Reintegration should be considered in the same light as the other goals, including rehabilitation and deterrence. When a person is taken through the correction process, he or she should be prepared for the life after prison and a life that does not entail breaking the law.
The impact of successful reintegration is a reason enough for the policy makers and law enforcers to develop and invest in policies in support of this goal. As long as the offender who has completed the prison term is supported to reintegrate into the society, he or she might not be tempted to go back to crime and be arrested soon after release. The corrections are basically useless in the event that the people going through the incarceration will be back within one year of their release (Davis, Bahr, and Ward 447). In fact, it will be a waste of resources if the person does not gain the skills and abilities necessary to re-enter the society as productive individuals. There should be supportive resources in and outside the correction facilities to support reintegration because of its important impact on the society.
However, there are some major drawbacks to reintegration. One of these issues is the cost of implementing the programs and initiatives necessary to allow successful reintegration. As already noted, successful reintegration will necessitate investing in supportive facilities and resources in and outside the criminal justice system. The problem is made worse by the fact that there is no objective means of measuring the success of the reintegration process. Basically, crime prevention objectives are measured on the basis of offender recidivism. As long as the offender is not rearrested, it means that the objective is achieved. However, it is not always the case that the person who falls back to crime is re-arrested. Reoffending is not necessarily the only measure of success in reintegration (Sumnall and Brotherhood 13). Moving back to society and becoming wholly accepted is not as easy as it sounds, and can cause challenges to the offender and society in general.
Despite the drawbacks in reintegration, its importance cannot be diluted. To begin with, the person who is arrested and sentenced to time in prison cannot remain behind the bars for the rest of his or her life. A time will reach where the person will have to be released and face a life as a free person. The purpose of reintegration, hence, is ensuring that the person is successfully reintegrated back into the society as a productive and a good citizen. Basically, the criminal justice system should be established in such a manner that the offenders are given the chance to develop the skills to navigate life after imprisonment. The society should also be trained to welcome the released offenders, failure to which they are most likely to fall back to the life of crime (Sumnall and Brotherhood 27). To prevent the cost of reoffending, reintegration should be taken into consideration at the policy level.
The cost of crime to society is always a major one, in terms of loss of productivity and the cost of maintaining a person in a correctional facility. Hence, it is cost effective to ensure that crime is prevented, especially the form involving recidivism. Prevention of this sort of crime involves efforts by the criminal justice system to ensure that the prisoners are prepared for life after imprisonment. Reintegration is a goal that should be given priority within the justice system even as others, such as rehabilitation are taken into account. The society should also be made more welcoming to these individuals to prevent them from taking the way out, that is, involving in crime soon after release.
Davis, Celeste, Stephen J. Bahr, and Carol Ward. “The process of offender reintegration: Perceptions of what helps prisoners re-enter society.” Criminology & Criminal Justice 13.4 (2013): 446-469.
Mingus, William, and Keri B. Burchfield. “From prison to integration: Applying modified labeling theory to sex offenders.” Criminal Justice Studies 25.1 (2012): 97-109.
Sumnall, Harry, and Angelina Brotherhood. Social reintegration and employment: evidence and interventions for drug users in treatment. No. 13. Publications office of the European Union, 2012.