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mark johnson

CEO Life To The Brim, Inc, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Retired

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Do we Ignore incarcerated men, women and juveniles or help Restore them back into community?

I am recent retired Department of Justice employee (Federal Bureau of Prisons)and Dream Coach. Part of my life's purpose is to Inspire, Impact, Empower and help Transfrom those in the space I occupy. Understanding that rehabilitation does not happen just by incarcerating a person, but actually takes place when the individual recognizes the need to change from the inside.

The likelihood of this happening is when (society) the institution create and provide programs for the inmate to participate in while incarcerated. Is such an idea grandiose? And if not what type of programs would cost effective and cognitively meaninful?

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    May 21 2012: I don't think we "ignore" incarcerated men, women and juveniles, I just think we sometimes use the wrong interventions. My experience in this field has shown my that there are a lot of dedicated and caring individuals who genuinely work hard to make a difference in people's lives. The issue with juveniles in particular is whether or not we are using interventions that are truly evidence-based. The research is pretty clear that incarceration alone does not have significant impact on crimonegenic behavior (it can actually increase it amongst low-risk youth). The most successful interventions are family and community-based interventions because they are more likely to address specific risk factors (Multi-Systemic Therapy, Family Functional Therapy, for instance). I think that the juvenile justice system in the U.S. is coming to realize this and has been moving towards these ends over the past several years (we are seeing the numbers of incarcerated youth decline) however progress has been slow at times. The U.S. justice system has largely been a retributive one for a long time, and the move towards more Restorative-types of interventions, while necessary, are sometimes difficult for people to accept because they don't come off as "tough on crime." It is imperative that organizations remain abreast of current research and come to realize that all of the money being spent on incarceration can better be spent on these more evidence-based interventions.

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