The article in USA Today, titled “Re-entry into Society, or Back in Prison?” tells a tale of how people who end up in prison come out of it worse than they have been before, which forces them to commit crimes again. According to Cullen, Agnew, and Wilcox (2017), only a small percentage of criminals become life-course-persistent offenders. These numbers contradict the statistics offered by the article, which states that 75% of all criminals end up imprisoned within five years after their release (Rivers, 2017). According to Life-Course theory, the majority of crimes are committed by teenagers and young adults as a means of showing their independence in the absence of options available to adults. Once these options become available (such as jobs, marriage, etc.), the majority of offenders cease their criminal behavior and integrate into society.
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In American society, convicts that get sentenced to prison do not receive these options upon serving their sentence. There is a great deal of discrimination when hiring ex-felons, with the majority of them unable to get even a low-paying job (DePillis, 2015). In other words, they land in the same situation they were in during their teenage years when options for development were not available. Faced with a lack of government and societal support, many ex-convicts return to a life of crime. This idea is also prevalent in Cullen’s social support theory (Cullen et al., 2017), which claims that a lack of social support for struggling individuals is a major factor for empowering crime. Some of the proposed policies that utilize the Life-Course theory involve protecting ex-felon information about the sentence and the charges. These policies are incomplete, as they deny the employer the right to make an educated choice regarding employment. The more appropriate approach would involve reducing the number of people to get into prison on non-violent charges, such as drug possession and use.
Cullen, F. T., Agnew, R., & Wilcox, P. (2017). Criminological theory: Past to present: Essential readings (6th ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
DePillis, L. (2015). Millions of ex-cons still can’t get jobs. Here’s how the White House could help fix that. The Washington Post. Web.
Rivers, E. (2017). Re-entry into society, or back to prison? USA Today. Web.