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Prisoner reentry is focus of April 3 conference at ASU

March 05, 2009

Arizona State University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice will host a daylong conference, “Prisoner Reentry: A Twenty-First Century Imperative,” on April 3 at the Mercado on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, Building C, 502 E. Monroe St.

The three-session discussion is designed for researchers interested in criminal justice; policymakers responsible for shaping public safety or social services; practitioners in criminal justice interested in criminal justice policy, public safety, prisons and prisoner reentry; and students interested in the criminal justice system.

The conference takes on additional significance in light of a recently released report by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project, which showed that for the first time in history more than one in every 100 adults in America are in jail or prison.  According to the report released Feb. 28, costs to states rise as prison populations increase, and last year, states spent more than $49 billion on corrections, up from $11 billion 20 years before.  With about half of released inmates returning to jail or prison within three years, the national recidivism rate remains virtually unchanged.

“The Pew Report notes that the state of Arizona is spending more than 45 other states on corrections as a percentage of the total state budget,” says Scott Decker, director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, which is part of ASU’s College of Public Programs. “This conference is particularly important in these times, and the recommendations for policy change and practice change that will come from such a gathering will be received with a great deal of interest and attention.”

The conference will bring three criminal justice experts to the Valley.  In the opening session, Todd Clear, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) John Jay College of Criminal Justice, will discuss community-level collateral consequences of mass incarceration.  The second session will be led by Beth Huebner, director of the graduate program at the University of Missouri – St. Louis Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.  Huebner, whose expertise is in the areas of prisoner reentry and criminal justice decision-making, will explore long-term recidivism patterns of different types of offenders.  The day’s final session will consider family connections and prisoner reentry, and will be led by Damian Martinez.  Martinez is presently an assistant professor in Rutgers University’s School of Criminal Justice who will be joining ASU’s faculty in the fall.  His research expertise focuses on prisoner reentry and reintegration.

The three discussion leaders will be joined at the end of the day by Kathy Waters, the division director for Adult Probation Services for the Arizona Supreme Court, in a panel discussion that will review the conference’s three sessions.

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice is committed to linking policy, research and practice by regularly sponsoring public events.  This is the second event in a series that examines issues such as violence, crime prevention, gangs, and strategic problem solving in criminal justice.

For information, call the school at 602-543-6607, or e-mail