IdentificationofaSocialProblem.edited11 xSocialAdvocacyProposal.edited1 xweek9instructions x
message to your political representative(s). Address the following in your message:
Submit a 1-page reflection of your process for writing a message to your political representative(s). Address the following in your short reflection:
Identification of a Social Problem
Describe a current social problem and the vulnerable population it impacts.
Social Reintegration is one of the biggest social problems in the United States. More than 500,000 individuals are freed from prison every year, with three-quarters of those released being apprehended again within five years of their release. Men and women who have been released from correctional facilities find it difficult to reintegrate into their communities because they lack enough preparation, assistance, and resources. Employment chances, public housing assistance, and access to social services are all affected by a felony conviction on one’s criminal record. For those who have served time in jail, re-entry into the workforce is a significant concern. Employers are wary of hiring people with criminal backgrounds, and as a result, freed convicts have a difficult time obtaining and maintaining employment after being released (Obatusin & Ritter-Williams, 2019). Having even a minor criminal record creates major barriers to employment and has far-reaching consequences. Re-incarceration and unsuccessful re-entry have a devastating impact on communities, families, and individuals. Ex-offenders and those recently released from prison are the most vulnerable populations to this social problem. People from minority groups, notably young black men and those with limited educational opportunities, have been disproportionately harmed by this social problem.
How/when has this problem been identified historically, and what were the actions taken to address this concern?
When a person is released from prison, it is generally a very joyous day in their lives for them. It may be thrilling to be reunited with loved ones and the rest of the free world. To expect that the reintegration process into society would be painless, on the other hand, would be a mistake. Former criminals face several difficulties as they strive to rebuild their life. This is particularly true for those who have served a long prison sentence and are on parole. Since the construction of the first jail in the 1770s, the challenges of prisoner re-entry into society have been a long-standing source of concern in the community. Throughout the twentieth century, however, the issue of discrimination against ex-offenders gained momentum in the public discourse.
To address this issue, the United States government has developed a variety of interventions that take place after an arrest to divert offenders away from the criminal justice system and onto a more appropriate measure, such as restorative justice or appropriate therapy, if necessary. After incarcerating criminals, community-based sanctions are used to assist ex-criminals in reintegrating into society rather than subjecting them to imprisonment’s marginalizing and harmful effects. Individuals who have been sentenced to prison may use correctional programs in jail and aftercare services following their release. These programs are designed to assist jailed individuals in their efforts to reintegrate into society and lead law-abiding lives. In recent years, more emphasis has been placed on developing comprehensive interventions to provide frequent assistance to offenders both inside and outside of prison.
How have the populations affected by the social problem changed over time?
Ex-offenders who have challenges integrating back into society often find themselves reoffending. Since the 1980s, this issue has been more frequent, especially among male ex-offenders. According to the National Institute of Justice, over 43 percent of people recently released return to prison within a year of their release date. The majority of the 500,000 offenders freed in 35 states in 2020 were caught for a new crime within three years of their parole, followed by 78 percent within six years and 82 percent within nine years (Oliveira & Graca, 2021). An extensive number of other factors have a role in recidivism, including the individual’s circumstances before imprisonment, events during their incarceration, and the period after their release from prison. Because it is difficult for them to reintegrate into ‘regular’ society, one of the biggest reasons they wind up back in jail is because they cannot find work. Many offenders fear their upcoming release because they believe that their lives will be different “this time,” which does not always materialize.
How might this social problem be incongruent with social work values/ethics?
Re-entry into society after a traumatic event, rehabilitation, or jail may be challenging for the individual and their family members to navigate. Most of the time, there are several hurdles in the path of these individuals being mentally healthy, physically clean, and law-abiding citizens. So many social workers are trained to help persons who are reentering society, as well as their relatives and friends who are trying to aid them. Social workers play a critical role in re-entry programs in the United States and throughout the globe, particularly in prisons. Social workers’ responsibilities include, among other things, ensuring the well-being of vulnerable ex-offenders and providing support for their families (Nixon, 2020). Many social worker degrees are offered with various specialties, including jail social work at certain institutions. The goal of these programs is to address the unique difficulties that people who are jailed experience while also making certain that these persons are treated with dignity and worth in the same manner that everyone else is. Individual counseling, treatment assessments for appropriate programs, and group programs are all carried out by social workers to strengthen and support ex-offenders who have been released from prison.
· Describe the next steps for how you will identify a policy.
The stages of establishing a policy included identifying the problem, creating evaluation criteria, producing alternative policies, analyzing other policies, and finally picking one chosen policy. The chosen policy is PUBLIC LAW 110–199—APRIL 9, 2008. This policy aims to break criminal recidivism to promote public safety (Davis, 2018). One strength of this policy is that it helps rehabilitate ties between offenders and their families after being released. The limitation of this policy to solving the identified social issue is that it does not encourage the development and promotion of evidence-based measures that increase public safety and reduce recidivism. It is necessary to revise this policy, particularly how ex-offenders are prepared to reintegrate into society. To provide continuous assistance to criminals both inside and outside of prison, greater emphasis should be placed on developing complete therapies that are based on a continuity of care. Before being released from prison, offenders should begin preparing for reintegration into society. Interventions should be designed to enable their speedy transfer from prison to community, reinforce the changes achieved during in-prison treatment, and continue until they have successfully reintegrated into their communities.
Davis, C. (2018). The Iconic Impact of Substance Use and High Recidivism in the Criminal Justice System: An Exploration of Interventions Within America’s Most Costly” Solution”.
Nixon, S. (2020). ‘Giving back and getting on with my life’: Peer mentoring, desistance and recovery of ex-offenders. Probation Journal, 67(1), 47-64.
Obatusin, O., & Ritter-Williams, D. (2019). A phenomenological study of employer perspectives on hiring ex-offenders. Cogent Social Sciences, 5(1), 1571730.
Oliveira, L., & Graca, D. (Eds.). (2018). Infocommunication skills as a rehabilitation and social reintegration tool for inmates. IGI Global.
Social Advocacy Proposal
Synopsis of the social problem
Men and women who have been released from prisons find it difficult to reintegrate back into their communities because they lack enough preparation, assistance, and resources. A felony conviction on one’s criminal record usually hinders employment opportunities, public housing aid, and access to social programs. Re-entry into the workforce is a major problem for persons who have served time in prison. Employers are wary of hiring people with criminal records, so formerly incarcerated persons have difficulty finding and keeping work after they are released (Poledna, 2021). Communities, families, and people are affected by re-incarceration and failed re-entry. The most vulnerable populations to this social problem are ex-offenders and those who have recently been released from prison.
Synopsis of the policy
The chosen policy is PUBLIC LAW 110–199—APRIL 9, 2008. This policy aims to break criminal recidivism to promote public safety. The policy is a state statute, and one of its benefits is that it aids in the rehabilitation of connections between offenders and their families once they have been released. Because it is designed to positively impact the life outcomes of those who return to society after being incarcerated, the policy addresses the aforementioned social problem (Holden, 2018). According to the policy, funding may be allocated to state and locally recognized local governments to support policies and programs intended to reduce recidivism and provide possibilities for those who have been released from juvenile detention centers and prisons.
Reason for selecting the policy
As a policy advocate, I chose P.L. 110-199 as a strategy for promoting social reintegration changes. Samuel Brownback and Robert Portman were the bill’s original sponsors, and it was signed into law on APRIL 9, 2008. One of the main reasons for choosing this approach is that changing the bill to enable effective re-entry of ex-convicts into society reduces the likelihood of returning to prison and eliminates the need to rely on relatives for necessities. Furthermore, re-entry into the workforce is a huge problem for people who have served time in prison. Employers are hesitant to hire persons with criminal backgrounds, making it difficult for previously incarcerated people to find and keep jobs once they are released from prison (Liberman, Hussemann & McKeever, 2021). Since many offenders lack formal schooling or job experience, finding profitable employment can be difficult. Aside from that, the fact that this policy addresses a long-standing issue of social reintegration that has plagued society throughout history is another reason to choose this policy.
People who enacted the policy
The bill was initially proposed by Samuel Brownback and Robert Portman and later signed into law on APRIL 9, 2008. The statute reauthorized the establishment of a grant program for the reintegration of adult and juvenile ex-offenders into society. It also calls for improvements in reentry planning and implementation. It directs the Attorney General to develop a Juvenile Offender Reentry Resource Center to collect data and assist grantees in implementing reentry programs.
Ways the policy impacts populations.
One of the major impacts of this policy on populations includes its ability to facilitate increased flexibility during the re-entry of youths and adults who have served their time in prisons. According to recent polls, the P.L. 110-199 policy has reduced recidivism among males in many states three years after its introduction, making it a promising legislation for reducing criminal recidivism. Since its inception, the policy has consistently provided re-entry services such as housing and employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, and victim support, all of which are critical for persons being released from prison (Doherty, 2018). Although the strategy has made significant progress in guaranteeing the smooth reintegration of ex-offenders, it has seen little development in states such as Missouri, Alabama, and Virginia.
After being released from prison, offenders are pushed into a new environment that is very different from their previous one, and many struggle to adapt. Aside from that, ex-offenders who have spent significant time in prison are released into an environment that is radically different from their previous surroundings due to the dynamic and constantly changing environment. When most of them fail to have a support system, they often fall into depression, anxiety, and stress, and some often find themselves engaging in criminal activities. Therefore, from a clinical setting, necessary changes must be made to the policy to reduce the likelihood of ex-prisoners falling into depression or getting re-arrested again.
Plan for social change
To reform this policy and improve the rights of ex-convicts, it is critical to strive toward decreasing discrimination and stigma through normalization. People need to understand that ex-offenders are people like them and that they have reformed and are ready to be integrated back into the community. By lobbying for this policy, the issue of social reintegration will be normalized, and awareness raised through local programs and activities will go a long way toward ensuring that the community aids in the smooth reintegration of ex-offenders. Acquiring assistance from stakeholders while incorporating social media to competitively work towards normalized social reintegration will be critical.
Doherty, M. (2018). Public law. Routledge.
Holden, M. V. (2018). The Second Chance: A Movement to Ensure the American Dream. UMKC L. Rev., 87, 61.
Liberman, A., Hussemann, J., & McKeever, B. (2021). Juvenile Second Chance Act Participation in Virginia: Impact on Rearrest, Reconviction, and Reincarceration. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 60(3), 196-214.
Poledna, S. (2021). SOLUTION-FOCUSED APPROACH IN PREPARING INMATES FOR SOCIAL REINTEGRATION. Analele Ştiinţifice ale Universităţii» Alexandru Ioan Cuza «din Iaşi. Sociologie şi Asistenţă Socială, 14(1), 63-70.
Assignment: Letter to Your Representative
Depending on the urgency of a social problem and policy timeline, you may not have the opportunity to attend a meeting with local, state, or federal representatives to vocalize your advocacy goals as they relate to the specific policies and agendas.
As an advocacy professional, you have other means of communication that can influence decision makers and legislators. Some social workers communicate by writing letters and emails to their legislators on a regular basis—others might write to broader audiences by submitting a letter to the editor of a periodical or news site. Through direct and personalized correspondence, the social worker can develop a professional relationship with the legislator. The more letters a legislator receives, the more likely they are to become an ally and to be influenced to support and vote for your social change projects.
For this Assignment, you will craft a message to the political leader(s) responsible for the policy or policy alternative you identified earlier in the course. As part of your Assignment, you will also send your message—either via physical mail or email—to your representative(s) and reflect on the experience.
· Locate the information for your local or state representative(s) responsible for the policy and/or policy alternative you selected earlier in the course.
· Review the advocacy resources from the Council on Social Work Education and the American Psychological Association from the Learning Resources this week.
· Review the letter and email examples from the Sample Letters and Emails section of the Learning Resources this week.
· Determine whether you will write a letter or an email to your representative(s). (Consider the tips from your resources this week to make your decision.)
· Craft your message and send it to your local or state representative(s).
By Day 7
Complete the two-part Assignment.
Submit a 1- to 2-page message to your political representative(s). Address the following in your message:
· Use the appropriate structure for the delivery format (letter or email).
· Introduce yourself and your intent or request.
· Describe the social problem and impacts of the policy in question.
· Use facts, stories, or other details to appeal to the representative(s) and connect the policy work to their district or state.
· Provide a call to action—inspire your representative(s) to rise to this occasion.
Submit a 1-page reflection of your process for writing a message to your political representative(s). Address the following in your short reflection:
· Describe the experience of sending the message—either via letter or email—to your representative(s). How did it feel to formally advocate on behalf of a policy to alleviate a social problem you have thoroughly reviewed?
· Did you write a letter or an email? Explain your reasoning.
· Describe how you constructed the letter. Use the Council on Social Work Education and American Psychological Association resources from the Learning Resources this week to support your choices.
· Explain how you used your advocacy skills in your communication.
· What are your next steps as an advocate?
The following resources showcase a sampling of both physical advocacy letters and emails to political representatives. Review these resources and use them as guides for your own letter or email, which you will write as part of your Assignment this week.
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