A little known, but important current issue in Michigan concerns the Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative (MPRI). True to the name of the initiative, this policy is designed to prepare former lawbreakers to transition back into society, through a series of steps or integration programs. Individuals from government related organizations band together to create options for former prisoners. “The vision of the MPRI is that every prisoner will return to the community prepared for success” (BHPI). A startling statistic reveals that “33,000 prisoners were paroled from standard Reentry in-reach facilities,” since the MPRI began in 2005 (Michigan.gov). These prisoners were able to receive assistance based on a specialized series of measures that deal exclusively with the issue most affecting the prisoner, such as mental health and others.
. The MPRI is a plan of action that serves as a type of transformation for prisoners to reality post-incarceration. This program offers resources and opportunities to prisoners who may not be exposed to such possibilities. The duration of this program and the extent to which methods are enforced is contingent upon the specific prisoner and the infraction. Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative requires a precise procedure before a prisoner is released to society. First, the prisoner must be enrolled in a given program recommended by the Parole Board. After the program is complete, the inmate is subject to evaluation by the CTT (Corrections Treatment Team) to analyze if any further treatment or requirements are needed for the prisoner before reintegration into civilization. Assuming no other treatment is required, the prisoner then meets with CMHT (Corrections Mental Health Team), the CTT, and the IPA (Institutional Parole Agent) before being released, in an effort to get ready to continue with daily life. Lastly, the prisoner, the CTT, the IPA, family members, and other interested parties join together to ensure that the prisoner is mentally sound, has consistent housing, and has a reliable source of employment (BHPI article). Government assistance is not guaranteed in terms of job security. The final meeting occurs for the organizations to evaluate if the prisoner is ready, and make certain that all parties dealing with the prisoner are on one accord.
Realistically, although this program seems like a step in a positive direction for the state of Michigan, controversy still arises. A major argument against this policy derives from the Heritage Foundation. The counterargument maintained by the foundation is the motto of “more ex-prisoners on the street, more crime” (Heritage). The Heritage Foundation points out that recidivism rates for ex-prisoners are higher than ideal. Using these data, the foundation argues that it is to be expected that prisoners are more likely to be arrested again within a short period of time after being released.
The Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative also has strong supporters. The seemingly obvious supporters would be the family members of those incarcerated. Those who have loved ones who have been incarcerated are main proponents for this policy. These individuals may be comforted by the idea that their family members, spouses, children, etc. who have been behind bars will be able to receive aid and ultimately transition back into society. This initiative can provide solace to community members who are directly affected by those who have previously or are currently spending time in the prison systems.
The Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative has shown success in reintegrating prisoners into civil society. Continued studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the MPRI. This should include not only periodic follow up with the reintegrated prisoners, but also interview and polling of family members, employers, and others who interact with the reintegrated prisoner on a regular basis. These studies are needed to assess the effectiveness of this initiative.
WORKS CITED .. Michigan Prisoner Reentry A Success Story (n.d.): n. pag. Michigan.gov. Web. Corrections, Michigan Department Of. POLICY DIRECTIVE (n.d.): n. pag. Michigan.gov. Web. "Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Program (MPRI)." - BHPI. Behavioral Health Professionals, Inc., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2015. Muhlhausen, David B. "The Second Chance Act: More Evaluations of Effectiveness Needed." Heritage.org. The Heritage Foundation, 27 July 2010. Web. 03 Mar. 2015.