You may squirm at the idea that a man or woman just out of prison is now living down the street. The idea that thousands of men and women are leaving prison and entering your community may disquiet you. It would be easier not to have to consider the uncomfortable issue of prisoners re-entering society. But it wouldn’t be smarter.
Helping former inmates successfully make a transition back home is critical for our safety—and our wallets.
In 2008, Michigan released some 17,000 prisoners, and nearly a quarter of them returned home to Detroit neighborhoods. If trends hold, one-third of these recently released prisoners will be re-arrested within three years for committing new crimes or breaking the rules of their supervision.
This failure rate not only threatens the security of our streets but also the solvency of the state budget. It costs Michigan taxpayers more than $32,000 per year to keep an inmate behind bars. This cost contributes to a total of more than $2 billion spent on corrections each year — nearly 5 percent of the state’s total annual expenditures.