Monday, November 10, 2014
What do you believe are some of the struggles parolees face when attempting to reintegrate into society?
The federal prison system abolished parole with the implementation of the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act. All prisoners who were convicted of crimes that took place after November 1, 1987, did not have eligibility for parole. For those who don’t know, parole is a release mechanism. Administrators can release prisoners on parole if they were sentenced under “indeterminate” sentencing laws. In other words, if a judge sentenced an individual to a term of ten years, and he was eligible for parole, an administrative board could review the sentence after a given length of time to determine whether continued confinement was warranted in the individual’s case. Typically, under the parole system, an individual would serve a third of his sentence in custody before a parole board would consider releasing him. If the prisoner had a record of good behavior and an acceptable plan for release, the parole board may release him.
But parole is no longer an option in the federal system. So I suspect the student who asked the question above wanted to know about struggles that anyone released from prison can expect to encounter.
The answer is many, many struggles.
My situation differed from most prisoners. I prepared myself well during the quarter century that I served and I was blessed with an adjustment that differed from what anyone would expect. I’m in contact with many individuals who served lengthy terms in prison. They struggle to find employment that pays a livable wage, they struggle to secure housing, and they struggle to build empower support networks.
Prisons place their emphasis on “preserving security of the institution.” Although security is important, when administrators focus exclusively on security, they create toxic environments that condition people who serve time for cycles of failure. Those cycles frequently become intergenerational. Overcoming the challenges of confinement requires a strong fortitude, discipline, and commitment.
Days since my release from prison: 455
Miles that I ran today: 12.1
Miles that I ran so far this week: 25.23
Miles that I’ve run during the month of November: 76.03
Miles that I ran so far in 2014: 2,126.17
Miles that I need to run in order to reach my annual goal of 2,400 miles: 273.83
Miles I’m ahead of schedule to reach my 2,400-mile goal by the end of 2014: 56.62
My weight for today: 168