An expensive and long-running problem, what has come to be known as "in-house parole" has resulted in corrections officials holding inmates for all or part of their parole terms often because they are unable to find or afford suitable housing outside prison. Sometimes, missing paperwork or administrative backlogs can also hold inmates back from their release. Women, who comprised just more than 10 percent of the prison population, faced tougher odds earning a timely release, with officials holding them on in-house parole at two and a half times the rate of men in the recent fiscal year. In the most extreme cases, offenders can spend their entire parole term behind bars, going from prisons directly to neighborhoods without the services or supervision that experts say can help with transitioning back into society. Numerous inmates, like Joleen Valencia, saw their release dates come and go, often because prison caseworkers and parole officers, who are often understaffed, failed to prepare their parole plans for the parole board to review or fell behind in doing so.
Photo by Eric Draper/Associated Press
Videography by Kevin Maestas & Edited by Meg Vatterott