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When Prisoners Come Home: Parole and Prisoner Reentry (Studies in Crime and Public Policy) 1st Edition

21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195386127
ISBN-10: 0195386124
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Editorial Reviews


"In When Prisoners Come Home, Petersilia exposes her investigative and policy background to good effect....Petersilia's arguments--plainly stated and soundly grounded in the empirical evidence on program failures and successes--provide an aggressive agenda for practices that could meaningfully change the way criminal justice is implemented in the United States."--Community Corrections Report

"When Prisoners Come Home sets the stage for reinventing the offender pre-release planning and discharge process. Dr. Petersilia's insight is nothing less than inspiring." --Reginald Wilkinson, Former President, American Correctional Association

"Joan Petersilia has brilliantly mapped the terrain of prisoner reentry, mixing forgotten wisdom, new data and fresh insights into a compelling call for new approaches to the reintegration of returning prisoners."--Jeremy Travis, Senior Fellow, The Urban Institute

"Nationally recognized criminology scholar Petersilia has provided a benchmark text portraying the pressing societal and criminal justice policy crisis of a record number of prisoners returning to communities.... A must-read for every American."--CHOICE

"Prisoner reentry has emerged as the most important new issue in justice policy. When Prisoners Come Home is the best, most comprehensive source of material on reentry that exists anywhere."--Todd R. Clear, Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

"When Prisoners Come Home is scholarship at its highest practical level. With about 600,000 prisoners being released each year, governments are planning massive and expensive efforts to deal with the avalanche. Dr. Petersilia's book is a necessary ally in that formidable task. To add to its attraction, it is crisply and clearly written - scholarship infused by practical experience and presented without pretension. For many decades it will dominate the literature on parole and the conditions of prisoners returning to society."--the late Norval Morris, Julius Kreeger Professor of Law & Criminology, Emeritus, University of Chicago

"Over 95 percent of our state and federal prison inmates will be released, most only a few years after they began their incarceration. Joan Petersilia's lucid book gives us the best scientific guidance on how to maximize, cost-effectively, the prospects that after they get out, they will finally become law abiding."--Daniel Glaser, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California, Past President, American Society of Criminology

"A lucid, comprehensive and scholarly accounting of reentry. This publication will serve as the premier text on reentry for many years to come. Petersilia's book presents a striking and rigorous synthesis of what is known (and not known) in the reentry literature. Her bibliography offers an encyclopedic review of the literature."--Chief Edward E. Rhine, Office of Offender Reentry and Correctional Best Practices, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

About the Author

Joan Petersilia is Adelbert H. Sweet Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. The author of numerous books and a former president of the American Society of Criminology, she is a consultant to the United States Department of Justice and to many state and local agencies.

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Crime and Public Policy
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195386124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195386127
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.7 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Darcy Purvis on March 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book deals with the most important topic of the coming decade for the criminal justice system: what to do when all of the massive numbers of criminals we have sent to prison come home. Petersilia not only describes all of the legal and practical hurdles criminals face when they begin reintegration, but she identifies how we can actually help them return to the community. This book is an easy read with an invaluable compilation of the latest statistics and summary of the challenges of life after incarceration.
Petersilia has written an academic piece with both theoretical and policy influence. It is a must read for criminologists, but most importantly for all practitioners in the criminal justice system from police and prosecution to corrections and parole. For students, the book provides a necessary education of the implications of recent law and public policy.
This is an excellent text for all of those interested in the criminal justice system. Petersilia succinctly describes what we have done wrong, then she provides recommendations for the future.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James Mowrey on March 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In "When Prisoners Come Home," Petersilia not only describes parole and reentry, but also the impact the war on drugs has had on young people. In short: too many people to prison, too many prisoner returns, and in the end--too many lost lives. The author also outlines the impact of a number of unintended consequences for families, communities, and children of the prisoners coming home.
There hasn't been a book written on parole in over 30 years. This is a much needed publication and should be read by anyone interested in corrections and sentencing policy. However, anyone with even a casual interest in current correction's issues will find this book engaging, interesting, and easy to read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By PrisonNewsBlog.com on July 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
Posted on behalf of Michael G. Santos author of Inside: Life Behind Bars in America. Michael Santos is currently in his 23rd year inside the federal prison system. He anticipates release in 2012.

Date Read: May 6, 2009
Title: When Prisoners Come Home
Author: Joan Petersilia, PhD
Publisher: Oxford University Press (2003)
Nonfiction/296 pages
When Prisoners Come Home was the seventh book I read in 2009

What I learned from reading When Prisoners Come Home:
This was the first academic book I have read in many years, and I enjoyed reading it more than any other academic book that I can remember. The subject matter was and is of intense interest to me for obvious reasons. This book alarmed me with the horrifying statistics, some of which I knew, others of which I did not. I knew about the high recidivism rates, of course, as I have been reading for years that two out of every three released prisoners return to confinement.

What I did not know prior to reading Professor Petersilia's book was the overwhelming reluctance employers have in hiring people with prison records. She pointed to studies that showed the high percentage of employers who affirmed that they would never hire someone with a drug conviction or prison record.

Reading books like Professor Petersilia wrote validate the concerns I have had about the obstacles I expect to face upon release. That is why I must continue working hard every day. I must overcome those obstacles by preparing myself in unconventional ways.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Valerie Jenness on March 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When Prisoners Come Home draws on both qualitative and quantitative data to critically examine the "prisoner reentry problem," a timely and important social problem. As Petersilia explains, "we spent the last decade debating who should go to prison, for how long, and how we might pay for it, and we paid virtually no attention to how we would cope with prisoners after they left prison" (p. 14). This book, then, begins with the fact that "never before in U.S. history have so many individuals been released from prison." To quote the numbers provided by Petersilia, "95% of the 1.4 million prisons inmates now in prison will eventually be released and will return to communities-635,000 people in 2002 and at least that many in future years" (p. 1). As detailed in When Prisoners Come Home, prisoners remain largely uneducated and unskilled and usually lack solid family supports. Moreover, about three quarters of all prisoners have substance abuse problems and one in six suffers from mental illness. These facts, coupled with an increasingly punitive public sentiment and political rhetoric about prisoners and diminishing resources devoted to rehabilitation, ensure that problems abound.
When Prisoners Come Home assembles empirical evidence to describe and assess the prisoner reentry problem. Conceptualizing "prisoner reentry" as "all activities and programming conducted to prepare ex-convicts to return safely to the community and to live as law abiding citizens" (p. 3), Petersilia devotes specific chapters to skillfully examining the characteristics of U.S.
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When Prisoners Come Home: Parole and Prisoner Reentry (Studies in Crime and Public Policy)
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