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.
President-elect Bolsonaro has embraced tough-on-crime measures that egregiously violate basic human rights and eviscerate the rule of law. Responding to Brazil’s 63,880 homicides in 2017, Bolsonaro calls for increasing protection for police officers who kill alleged criminals and arming citizens. He calls for further militarizing urban policing, reducing the age of criminal liability from 18 to 16, reinstating the death penalty, authorizing torture in interrogations and imprisoning more people... Brazil’s police are already notorious for being one of the world’s deadliest in the use of force. In many favelas, Brazil’s retired and current police officers operate illegal militias that extort and control local communities, murdering those who oppose them and engaging in warfare with Brazil’s highly-violent gangs and in social cleansing. Bolsonaro is simply threatening to turn the rest of the police into state-sanctioned thugs.