Learn about prisoners' rights, parole
and available help for the incarcerated.
The United States of America currently has more people imprisoned than any country in the history of the world. The total number of inmates (2,239,751) has steadily increased since the implementation of the Rockefeller Drug Laws in the 1980’s. And of the total, approximately 600,000 are incarcerated for drug related crimes. More specific to Massachusetts, there are currently 11,623 local, state, and federal prisoners incarcerated, and like the national incarceration rate, approximately 30% are because of drug related crimes.
The Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC) releases approximately 10 inmates per day (3,315 per year), with a recidivism rate of 43%. It is important to note that although federal and state officials list that 30% of their total population is from drug related offenses; drug advocacy groups say that when you factor in "indirect" drug related offenses, the percentage more than doubles to approximately 70%. The 30% figure comes from arrest and convictions in which the police found drugs in the defendant's possession, however when a defendant breaks into a house to get "loot" to buy drugs, crashes a car because he's under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or assaults someone because they won't give him drugs, those convictions aren't listed as drug related offenses.
Jeffrey's House is currently working with the DOC to help transition ex-offenders back into society. We feel that it is crucial to immediately get into reputable sobriety support, such as Jeffrey's House, upon your release; because being "sober" while incarcerated isn't the same as being sober by choice. Upon their release, most ex-offenders return to the same neighborhood, and the same associates, that got them into trouble in the first place. This pattern is directly attributable to the 43% recidivism rate. The likelihood that an ex-offender will commit a new crime is highest a few months, weeks, or even days, after they are released. The initial period after release is thus the riskiest time for an ex-offender to commit new crimes. Establishing positive business and personal relationships, and getting involved with like-minded sober individuals who are interested in your success, is crucial in remaining drug and alcohol-free and remaining out of prison. In most cases, the money that you have accumulated in your canteen isn't going to last you one week, which is why we are advocating that you come and live in one of our sober houses, and make a gradual transition back into society.
Jeff and Richard Sumers with Governor Deval Patrick
While you are at Jeffrey's House getting yourself ready to again live a "normal" life, we will help you with that transition by assisting you with the following:
1. Identification (MA ID, Drivers License, Birth Certificate, Social Security Card).
2. Job Assistance (Resume help, Job leads, Application help, Computer help and access, etc.)
3. Transportation (All of our houses are closely assessable to the M.B.T.A. commuter rail and busses).
4. Drug Counseling (You will be required to attend weekly AA/NA meetings, have random drug/alcohol test, check-in with your Probation/Parole Officer).
Former President Barack Obama on the national level, as well as Former Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick, on the state level, have both made significant reforms to the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) laws. These changes have had very positive effects on ex-offenders and those with criminal convictions in their past. The following are some of the CORI reforms that Governor Patrick put into effect in Massachusetts:
1. The waiting period before misdemeanor convictions can be sealed is reduced from 10 years to 5 years.
2. The waiting period before felony convictions can be sealed is reduced from 15 years to 10 years.
3. Sealed charges, charges that have been dismissed, or charges that resulted in a not guilty verdict, will no longer be included on a CORI.
4. Employers are now limited on how long they can retain employee CORI's and who may view this information.