…today’s secret…the ordeal of prisons.

Ex-offenders are one of the most difficult marginalized population to work with.

In 1972 Robert Martinson’s criminology study concluded that rehabilitation in American prisons was a ‘dangerous myth’ and a ‘graveyard of good intentions’.

He hoped his study would initiate vast changes in how we turn people who harm society into people who embrace society.

Unfortunately, politicians, both liberal and conservative, misinterpreted Martinson’s study as ‘Nothing Works’ and began cutting prison programs and building new prisons. Tough on crime thing.

Martinson’s criminology study was the tipping point on how we got where we are today – 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prison population.

Martinson was so distraught at this misinterpretation that he committed suicide. Martinson believed offender rehabilitation would happen post-release – outside prison walls.

Nobody listened until the 1990’s when legislators began realizing more money was being spent on prisons than education…without a reduction in recidivism.

The question resurfaced. How do you change someone who has harmed society into someone who embraces society?

The last three decades have been a mix of rehabilitative models with different levels of individual intensity and integrity, without any clear answers.

However, two things have become clear to those who open their eyes.

1) You can’t take people who marginally functioned in society and put them in a dysfunctional culture of prisons and expect them to be contributing members of society upon their release.

2) Prosocial integration of offenders is best achieved community based.

Unfortunately, we are in another social upheaval like the late 60’s and early 70’s. It’s going to be interesting to see where the criminal justice pendulum swings this time.

Right Time’s PAS® adds the voice of your marginalized participant to your intervention which means you can improve your decision making, achieve quicker rapport, gain marketplace advantage, and, maybe, increase your funding. How much of their voice do you need? $4. $8. $14.

P.S. My partner, Dr. Samantha Kurtz, wrote a white paper entitled “The Impact of Robert Martinson on Corrections.” Reply and I’ll send it to you.