For Ex-Prisoners, a Haven Away From the Streets

By Tina Rosenberg

Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

The Fortune Academy in West Harlem.

This year, the United States will release nearly three-quarters of a million people from prison, a record high.   Nationally, 2.3 million people are in prison in the United States, and 95 percent of them will, at some point, get out and go home.


Society has a strong interest in keeping them home — in helping them to become law-abiding citizens instead of falling back into their old ways and returning to prison.  But American programs for newly released prisoners echo the typical follies of our criminal justice system:  our politicians usually believe that voters only want the emotional satisfactions of meting out maximum punishment, even if these policies lead to even more crime.
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