Commentary: Are Early Releases Really the Problem?

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By Delbert D. Williams

“A suspect arrived in connection with [April’s] mass shooting outside bars in Sacramento served less than half his ten-year sentence because of voter-approved changes to state law that lessened the punishment (emphasis added by writer) for his felony convictions and provided a chance for early release,” read the snippet from the April 9, 2022, AP Article, published in the Wall Street Journal.

My question is, what did the prison system do for this suspect? Or the 66% of others released who recidivate? Studies have repeatedly shown that long sentences, in and of themselves, do not work. It is like telling a child to go stand in a corner after they misbehave. Behaviorists advise that the parent/caregiver explain the offense, the consequences (ripple effect), and offer the child alternatives to the negative behavior.

All humans, no matter what age, are cognitive beings. We must be taught and educated by others. Unfortunately, dysfunctional families, gangs, and other negative experiences influence people in negative ways that many of the rest of us take for granted. Thankfully, the cognitive behavior field was invented specifically for people who are left to rely on negative or warped thinking. Until we hold the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to the fire, warehousing, depriving and releasing citizens without the cognitive intervention they need will continue to result in bad outcomes.

Delbert Williams is incarcerated in California

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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