Though no one should necessarily need a thorough Last Week Tonight segment in order to realize just how broken America's prison systems are, we'll certainly take it. John Oliver, once again taking the deep dive into the increasingly depressing atmosphere surrounding the unbalanced criminal justice process in America, took Sunday's long-form piece on the current status of prisoner re-entry a step further by interviewing former prisoner Bilal Chatman.
According to statistics compiled by the National Institute of Justice, as many as 56.7 percent of prisoners who are eventually re-arrested are arrested within the first year of release. The current recidivism rate "looms at 50 percent," according to Slate. In a humorous aside, Oliver includes imagery of one SpongeBob SquarePants quickly and enthusiastically exiting the Bikini Bottom Jail. Actual life, of course, is far (so far) from that oft-repeated mirage of a utopian prison system.
Coupled with the Justice Department's recent announcement that roughly 6,000 inmates would receive an early release from prison, a bold move in the right direction, the dire need for a national push toward easing the pain of former prisoners' re-entry processes should now become a paramount concern.