The conclusion chapter summarizes the main findings and discusses their policy implications. Why is reintegration so hard to achieve? There is a profound mismatch between the health, human capital, and cultural and social resources of the formerly incarcerated and the institutions and social contexts they must navigate after release, including the dangerousness and isolation of high poverty neighborhoods, the nature of the low-skill labor market, the punitiveness of the criminal justice system, the retreat of the neoliberal state from social service provision and public benefits. Race is also a critical factor, as African-Americans fare worse on almost every reintegration outcome even once these factors are taken into account. What can be done? Prison has the potential to be a life turning point, but only through decarceration and justice reinvestment will resources be available to realize this potential. Reducing collateral consequences related to stigma, supporting families who are doing the critical work of reintegration, and preparing prison inmates for release with educational and other rehabilitation programs that are known to be effective can improve prospects for reintegration.
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