Law Essay Example: Critique on the Senate Bill 618

Published: 2022-04-28
Law Essay Example: Critique on the Senate Bill 618
Type of paper:  Article review
Categories:  Law
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 880 words
8 min read

The alarming count of ex-felons being paroled into the society across the United States of America caught the attention of officials dealing with public safety, lawmakers, and various community leaders that it necessitated the creation of a bill, the Senate bill 618. The bill was signed into law in the early days of January but it is unfortunate that six years later it was terminated due to budgetary constraints. The law was based on the concept that parolees' successful reintegration into the society depended on the provision of solid support services. Diverse groups of stakeholders were charged with the development of programs and policies to rehabilitate and educate willing and nonviolent felons (Mulmat, Hoctor, Burke, & Cynthia, 2013, p. 24).

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A study conducted utilizing data on release of ex-felons indicated that within a period of two to three years of release, 67 percent of those released were rearrested for an entirely new offense; 46 percent were reconviction cases, and around 50 percent were forced to go back to prison either serving a new sentence or rather violations that were technical. The SB 618 was designed on the basis of evidence and practices deemed best for instance; case management, case planning, utilization of social support, and multidisciplinary input (Mulmat, Hoctor, Burke, & Cynthia, 2013, p. 24). Felony offenders were also screened for eligibility. They ought to have been nonviolent with a sentencing of a maximum of six years and a minimum of seven months.

Arguably, the SB 618 was different from traditional prison programming in a number of ways which include but not limited to the following:

Case Planning and Needs Assessment

Right before sentencing began the needs of the program participants were assessed leading to a creation of a plan by a team comprising of the program's staff. Recidivism risks and the need for substance abuse among other needs that are crime related, literacy training, life skills, and basic education are determined. Notably, participant input from the start to the end of the program was critical to life plan design.

Motivational Techniques and Case Management

On the basis of varied individual circumstances, case management was given out both in and out of prison with varying intensities. This ensured that services available for access met needs.

Social Supports

Once an individual is released, a grouping was charged with the responsibility of ensuring that reintegration needs and challenges were taken care of. Traditional prison programs and their practices were restricted to any access to in prison serce, supervision, and community services access. This is different to the SB 618 program.

During the six years of the program's implementation, the San Diego Association of Authorities conducted an evaluation that mainly aimed at assessing recidivism rates.

Characteristics of the participants

A large number of individuals in the study were minor offenses, convicts; these types of offenders serve their sentences within their local jurisdiction in the state thus easing the entire program. This aids in the reduction of recidivism.


The SB 618 program was intended to aid ex-felons into turning to law-abiding and productive while at the same time economizing on its funds (Mulmat, Hoctor, Burke, & Cynthia, 2013, p. 25). An assessment of the program on ex-felons behavior in terms of convictions and prison return, violations of parole, and arrests. During the first years of the program launch recidivism, rates were almost at a constant high. However, in the long run, the assessment proved that the rates of reconviction were diminishing which was a good sign. The program's participants were less likely to be rearrested for the same mistake or another or violations of parole as compared to a group, not in the program (Mulmat, Hoctor, Burke, & Cynthia, 2013, p. 25).

The experiences and evaluation outcomes are valuable lessons to those looking to implement a similar program.


The program would have thrived well should there have been an established culture of communication among participants and stakeholders. It is a daunting task of establishing a communicative culture between ex-felons with the hosts and stakeholders, the ex-offenders are viewed as unfriendly.

Services linkage to needs

A certain proportion of participants failed to receive services that matched their overall needs. At the time of the program's implementation, it contained some vital information concerning the program and participants. For instance, some information regarding vocational needs and treatment on substance abuse, had these have been looked into with a grain of salt, desirable results would have been realized.

Data Tracking

Time to time, the stakeholders of the program prioritized on putting data tracking systems in place. This helped in determining what worked to curb recidivism; this would have been more effective should there have been reports on the same on a regular basis.

Cost Analysis

The program came to a premature end due to budgetary constraints thus closely linking the failure to cost ineffective. The average cost per successful head was considerably high in the region of $123,000 (Mulmat, Hoctor, Burke, & Cynthia, 2013, p. 26).

In conclusion, a complete evaluation of the program indicates an improved outcome thus validating its existence in the first place. A significant number had little chance of being arrested for the same or a new offense. Much should have therefore been done to ensure SB 816 remained alive.


Mulmat, Hoctor, D., Burke, & Cynthia. (2013). Addressing Offender Reentry: Lessons Learned From Senate Bill 618 San Diego Prisoner Reentry Program. California.

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