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Abstract

As the cost of imprisonment climbs, overcrowding in correctional facilities proves to be a major concern. The Virginia Department of Corrections spends an average of $24,380 per inmate annually (VADOC, 2013). The burden of recidivism puts strain on the state budget due to the steady increase in inmate population. Without proper resources and support, released inmates will likely face health, financial, and social barriers, forcing many to revert back to criminal behavior. There is ample evidence to suggest pre- and post-release programs can reduce criminal behavior and aid offenders in their transition back into society. This article summarizes the current evidence of the burden of recidivism on society and proposes a multifaceted solution that may be adapted for a small or large prison system. “Beyond the Big House: Making the Transition to Life After Prison,” is proposed as a comprehensive program that combines pre-release vocational training as well as post-release case management in order to break the cycle of recidivism, improve community wellbeing, and save millions in government spending.

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