the state

– of fighting and saving (gemeinschaft). by jhumphrey
Saturday, 25 October 2008, 11:09
Filed under: -of jhumphrey, -of politik

i came home two days ago to find a yellow flyer tucked in my door.  this is what it said:

Gemeinschaft Home Walk!!

When: October 29, 2008

Where: Gemeinschaft Home

Time: 10:00am

What: A walk from Geimeinschaft Home to Court Square downtown

i’m going.  are you?

This article, or this one, or this one explains more.

In short, the Gemeinschaft Home has been told it will be shut down in January due to state budget cuts. Despite the math (thanks to Jeremy Aldrich of hburg news):

A quick math exercise demonstrates the point.  Gemeinschaft currently has around 60 residents for approximately 90 days before their final release.  If the program costs the state $76 a day (even compared to a $65 per day state average for prison incarceration), but prevents even one of them from reoffending and then being reincarcerated, it saves the state money.

Cost to the state for current Gemeinschaft residents: 60 x 76 x 90 = $410,400

Cost to the state for non-therapeutic incarceration of the same inmates during the same period (using figures from 2006): 60 x 65 x 90 = $351,000

Cost of one additional reoffense among the group resulting in a three year jail sentence: 65 x 365 x 3 = $71,175

Cost of one future three-year incarceration added to current cost of incarceration for the whole group: 351,000 + 71,175 = $422,175

As you can see, it doesn’t take much success for Gemeinschaft to be the cheaper option for the state.  Amison says that the Gemeinschaft program lowers recidivism much more than the 1.6% figure used here for illustration.  In addition, this mathematical exercise does not include additional costs to law enforcement for reoffense, or lost tax revenue from a former offender finding gainful employment, which further tilt the scales in favor of transitional therapeutic community programs like Gemeinschaft.

or more importantly, watch and listen to the residents themselves as they explain why this transitional, transformative program is worth it.


1 Comment so far
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Thank you for posting this. I am a Justice Studies student at James Madison University, and we have talked about the Gemeinschaft Home in several of my classes. The Gemeinschaft Home is an INCREDIBLE place that turns lives around, which certainly cannot be said for prison. Prison fosters anger, resentment, and violence in inmates and even provides an avenue to learn the “tricks of the trade” for criminal behavior. On the other hand, the Home develops positive habits and attitudes and encourages residents to become contributing members of society. Upon hearing the plan to close the Home, one inmate offered his personal wages from his job outside the Home to pay the its utilities bills for the next couple months in order to save money for the government and keep the Home open. This organization means a lot to so many people. I am attending the rally at Court Square today, and I urge that others do the same.

Comment by Brooke H

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