Happy Independence Day! Alvis proudly joins Americans in celebrating this holiday.
Alvis’ programs are funded by generous donations from individuals and organizations, but programs also receive government funding from the local, state and federal government. We are grateful for this support, that allows Alvis to facilitate our #180DegreeImpact. As many of our clients are involved with the justice system, these programs also follow government requirements and protocol that allows for a plethora of onsite and outpatient treatment options for clients while still adhering to justice system rules.
The United States still has lots of ground to make up when it comes to prison reform. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website, the U.S. prison population has increased 500% over the past 40 years without any corresponding increase in crime, and nearly 2/3 of America’s inmates are awaiting trial. Perhaps a more staggering statistic: the United States has the highest prison population rate in the world.
Many individuals become involved with the justice system through misdemeanor charges, and while these charges are supposed to be minor in comparison to felonies, their record still clings to individuals, often for the rest of their lives and can hinder potential employment prospects. One move that Congress has made to combat this is the First Step Act, which was passed in 2018.
Under the First Step Act, which is one of the most significant pieces of criminal justice reform in years, mandatory minimum sentences under federal law have been eased, and qualified people, many of whom carry low-level drug offenses, are able to earn “good time credits” in federal prisons. Resulting from this are potentially-reduced prison sentences and opportunities for probation that were not there before. It is also important to note that this act is only applies to the federal system, which is responsible for about 13% of all incarcerated Americans.
The First Step Act is considered a “first step” because there are still many reforms that could be made to reduce recidivism and promote education and employability, but it is a step in the right direction.
Statewide efforts have also been made to reduce the incarceration rate in America, especially in regards to drugs. State rates of incarceration have gone down recently, and some states have reclassified drug possession from felonies to misdemeanors, while other states, including Ohio, have enacted some decriminalization laws regarding drugs, like marijuana. Ohio has a low recidivism rate in comparison to other states. Alvis, which is very advanced in what it provides clients in comparison to some other reentry programs, is one of many programs that receives state funding in the U.S. to provide education and workforce development training.
According to the National Institute of Justice, “More severe punishments do not ‘chasten’ individuals convicted of crimes, and prisons may exacerbate recidivism.” Alvis programs are more effective and less expensive than prison, and in comparison to the national average, Alvis clients are twice as likely to be successful upon returning to the community. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has found that 79% of clients who complete an Alvis residential reentry program do not return to prison!
As we celebrate our country on this July 4th, we also applaud the ways in which reentry programs like Alvis are becoming increasingly recognized as important and vital to our communities.
Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency with over 50 years of experience providing highly effective treatment programs in Ohio. Our vision is that communities value a person’s potential more than their past. For more information on how Alvis can help you or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us here.