Reentry and older offenders

I saw this article late last week. It talks about re-entry programs in Virginia and specifically mentions OAR, the program where I’m a volunteer.

The writer makes a very good point about the difficulties faced by older ex-offenders.   I was just talking to a gentleman recently who served a 30-year sentence.  He’s faced some of the challenges of coming back into a society that he left in his youth.  It can be quite daunting, and I’m hopeful that he’ll share some of his experiences in this space soon.

Some of the most motivated students in OAR’s employability classes are older offenders.  So often, they barely resemble the person they were when they entered prison.  They’ve completed GEDs and gotten college degrees.   They’ve been inside long enough to see how much they’ve changed — particularly when younger inmates come in with the attitudes they once had.

It would be interesting to see if there isn’t some data reflecting the likelihood of this particular cohort re-offending.   As I’ve noted before, most research suggests that once an offender has been out 7 years, he or she is no more likely to commit a crime than someone who has never been in trouble with the law. For violent crimes that period is even shorter.   It would be interesting to see if the time when the offender/non-offender risk isn’t also reduced inside, particularly for longer sentences.

Has anyone seen any studies that examine this?

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Filed under reentry resources, second chances, starting over

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