HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE RELEASED FROM U.S. PRISONS EACH YEAR, MANY WITHOUT A SUPPORTIVE PLACE TO GO, WITHOUT MONEY OR A JOB, AND OFTEN IN POOR HEALTH.
Many also lacked access to basic resources, health and well-being prior to imprisonment. Issues stemming from lifetimes of systemic marginalization and oppression are often approached by policy-makers and practitioners as mere technical problems to be addressed. In this formula, re-entering peoples' “success” is seen as mostly a matter of individual ingenuity and commitment to 'get back on track.' This focus on individual outcomes rather than root causes and deeper contexts further reinforces the social hierarchies and inequities that fuel the punishment system.
(Re)entry from the Bottom Up: Case Study of a Critical Approach to Assisting Women Coming Home from Prison
By Melissa Burch
Illustrated by Ana Holschuh
Despite decades of critical reframings, policy and practice on prisoner (re)entry often remains situated within a framework of individual responsibility that fails to acknowledge the structural drivers of criminalization.