The latter part of the 20th century witnessed a dramatic shift in prison operations from rehabilitation-centric to being focused on crime control. Rising crime rates, caused in part by recidivists, probationers, and parolees, supported the declaration of Dr. Martinson in 1968 and 1972 that nothing works in rehabilitation. In addition, the high cost of funding rehabilitation efforts with little (or an unknown) return-on-investment only served to increase the public’s frustrations and dissatisfaction with the failure of the prison system.
In addition, when offenders are sentenced to prison for varying periods of incarceration (custodial corrections), oftentimes the reality that well over 90% of offenders in prison get out and return to the community. What are the responsibilities of the prison system to the returning citizens and to the community where they may work and live? In addition, what responsibilities do offenders who are reentering society have to become changed, productive returning citizens? Finally, does society have any responsibilities to facilitate offender reentry?