200 elderly lifers got out of prison en masse. Would they land back behind bars?


The School of Social Work is mentioned in a Miami Herald story that looked at a UMB program designed to reduce recidivism.

"Five years ago, nearly 200 elderly lifers were released from prison en masse – people who all had been convicted and sentenced before 1981, under jury instructions that were found unconstitutional in the case Unger v. Maryland. It created a natural experiment: Was it safe to release all these onetime violent criminals? Or, would they land right back in prison?

The results are in, according to a study from Justice Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. The Ungers, as they're called, have clocked a recidivism rate of just 3 percent. Researchers have found that, on average, two-thirds of the nation's state prisoners are arrested again within three years of release; about half are reincarcerated. JPI estimates the state's averted costs at close to $1 million per individual released.

It was not an easy path, but with a relatively small investment in supportive services (about $6,000 per person), the elders, on average 64 years old, are finding their way in society."

READ MORE

28 views

2020 University of Maryland School of Social Work

Office of Communications  410.706.4542  bulletin@ssw.umaryland.edu