In the 1960s, America made a terrible mistake. We believed too easily in experts who supposedly had the answers for corrections. They knew how to "fix" criminals who were, after all, sick and not evil. When the fixes were actually subjected to scientific scrutiny to determine which of them worked, the stunning answer was that none
of them did. In the meantime, lax sentencing contributed to the horrific rise in crime, a rise that was brought back down only after we got tough.
Fast-forward 50 years, and those who do not remember this history are working to condemn the nation to repeat it, over the vehement objection of those who do remember. One of the programs touted to rehabilitate criminals so we won't need to lock so many up is halfway houses. Or maybe not. Sam Dolnick has this story
in the NYT:
The federal government and states across the country have spent billions
of dollars in recent years on sprawling, privately run halfway houses,
which are supposed to save money and rehabilitate inmates more
effectively than prisons do.
But now, a groundbreaking study by officials in Pennsylvania is casting serious doubt on the halfway-house model, concluding that inmates who spent time in these facilities were more likely to return to crime than inmates who were released directly to the street.
The findings startled the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett, which responded last month by drastically overhauling state contracts with the companies that run the 38 private halfway houses in Pennsylvania. The system costs more than $110 million annually.
Pennsylvania's corrections secretary, John E. Wetzel, who oversaw the study, called the system "an abject failure."
Thanks to Michael Santella for the link.