High recidivism rates—some 50 percent of released prisoners return within three years—constitute a major factor driving both high crime rates and high incarceration rates. The unduly sudden process of prisoner release contributes to recidivism by confronting releasees with unnecessarily difficult problems of subsistence and adjustment.
Graduated Reintegration addresses that problem by making the release process less sudden. This paper offers a proposal to pilot and evaluate Graduated Reintegration, which would move prisoners from their cells to supported housing before what otherwise would have been their release dates. Participants would be subject to prison-like rules (curfew, position monitoring, drug testing, no use of cash, directed job search) enforced by a system of swift, certain, and fair rewards and sanctions. Compliance and achievement would be rewarded with increased freedom, and noncompliance sanctioned with temporarily increase restriction. Graduated Reintegration aims to transform the releasee continuously rather than suddenly from a prisoner in a cell to an ordinary resident with an apartment and a job.
The Duque government’s drug policy in Colombia is taking on a progressively ominous and counterproductive direction. It threatens to undermine the incomplete and struggling peace process, misdirect law enforcement resources, augment the alienation of coca farmers from the state and undermine human rights and drug users’ access to health services in Colombia. With their emphasis on criminalization of even drug possession for personal use and forced eradication, the announced policies clearly cater to the Trump administration’s doctrinaire and discredited drug policy preferences that harken back to the 1980s. But without sustainable livelihoods already in place, forced eradication will not sustainably reduce coca cultivation and cocaine production. The dominance of zero-coca thinking in Colombia whereby a community has to eradicate all coca first before it starts receiving even meager assistance from the state never produced positive results in Colombia.