What The U.S. Can Learn From Prison Reform Efforts Throughout The World


With roughly 716 of every 100,000 U.S. residents behind bars, the U.S. locks up nearly one-quarter of the entire world’s prison population. Worse yet, when American inmates are released, they are extremely likely to return. The most recent recidivism data for state prisoners, reported by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, shows 68 percent are back behind bars within three years…

The prison’s woodsy setting is also meant to help naturally treat prisoners’ depression…

In these European countries, prisons are organized around the belief that, since virtually all prisoners will return to their communities, it is better to approach their incarceration with conditions as close to “normal” as possible — with the addition of treatment, behavioral interventions, skills training, and needed education — and to remove them from communities for the shortest possible time so that institutional life does not become their norm…

The change in approach has been responsible for a drastic reduction to inmates’ rates of re-offending — from 50 percent under the previous system to less than 5 percent at the facilities where the model system was put into place, Reuters reports. Other countries in the region including Ecuador, Panama, Chile and others have said they plan to adopt at least part of the Dominican Republic’s approach, according to Reuters…

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