Every now and then this blog takes a close-up of the work an individual agency is doing. This week we would like to profile Starting Over, Inc. a small Los Angeles agency dedicated to helping individuals who have fallen by the wayside and are trying to reenter the mainstream of normal life. Starting Over Inc. is dedicated to helping Southern California's most vulnerable by addressing homelessness, recidivism, and reentry. Although providing transitional housing is an important part of their service, over time the program has evolved a seven-part service model that seeks to address the complex of conditions that hinder a successful reentry into the mainstream.
Every year, nearly 600,000 people are released from prison. More than two-thirds of inmates are arrested again within three years of their release. Former inmates may struggle to re-enter society due to obstacles such as unemployment, homelessness, or a lack of funds.
The majority of these people do not receive the assistance and counseling they require to avoid committing another crime. In this case, re-entry programs can be beneficial. They want to help ex-offenders reintegrate into society. Re-entry programs offer a variety of services such as job placement, housing, and mentoring. Let's examine how re-entry programs improve a community.
Topics: Adult Re-Entry
We are quite surprised but pleased by our readers' enthusiastic response to our recent blog on forensic social work. Social workers and workers from other professions were so intrigued by the work that forensic social workers do within the criminal justice system that they asked if we would flesh out a little more the career details of the forensic social work specialty. If you're considering a career in forensic social work, here's an overview you may find helpful.
According to The Sentencing Project, over the past four decades, the number of incarcerated women increased by more than 475%, rising from a total of 26,326 in 1980 to 152,854 in 2020. Also, over half (58%) of imprisoned women have a child under the age of 18.
There are over 111,565 forensic social workers currently employed in the United States, but few people have any idea what they do. Forensic social workers are involved in both criminal and civil cases that can include termination of parental rights, juvenile and adult justice services, corrections, and mandated treatment. They fight against oppression that is exhibited through exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, violence, criminalization, and cultural dominance or imperialism. Forensic social workers assist individuals of all ages, handling child custody, juvenile arrest, and child maltreatment, elder abuse, divorce, civil disputes and criminal offending and imprisonment. As counselors they may provide psychosocial counseling, group counseling or mediation services. As a case manager or liaison, they link the legal world with the field of social work. They may be employed across a wide variety of settings such as court systems, mental health agencies, rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities, hospitals, child and family agencies, prisons, and faith-based institutions.
Re-entry programs play an important role in "leveling the playing field" for some of society's most vulnerable members. The goal is to simplify this complex issue while emphasizing the importance of re-entry programs . These programs are critical in assisting our justice system in achieving its goal of increased public security while also assisting former inmates in becoming productive and successful members of society.
As you proceed to discuss the major elements of effective inmate re-entry as part of the greater transitional justice system, it is necessary to recognize why society must conceive and respect inmates as Individuals, not simply prisoners.
Society and social services must begin to treat inmates as individuals from the outset of their sentence... Beginning Early!
When prisoners in the United States are released, they face an environment that is challenging and actively deters them from becoming productive members of society. Within three years of release, 67.8 percent of ex-offenders are rearrested and, within five years, 76.6 percent are rearrested.
Criminals are Criminals
Recidivism rates (or rates of repeat offending) are often used as a measure of effectiveness of prison systems and post-release offender management programs. What’s more, studies show that the general public believes - “once a criminal, always a criminal”. They see “ex-cons” as “criminals waiting to happen again.”
After years of writing about the mass incarceration of Americans, it gives us great pleasure to share this headline with everyone in the social services community.
How did the United States, with 5% of the global population but 25% of its prisoners, become home to the largest prison system in the history of the world? Some say it’s an accomplishment. The U.S. is a law and order country and our criminal justice system is the envy of the world. Others feel quite differently and suggest that the “war on drugs” led to the mass incarceration of two generations of the urban poor.