Life after


Accused of shaking an infant to death, Pamela Jacobazzi was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 32 years in prison. Jacobazzi, who has always maintained her innocence, served time from December 2000 until May 8, 2015, when she was released from prison on parole. Jacobazzi’s family gifted her flowers, pictured here, when they picked her up on her first day of freedom. (Annabel Edwards/The Medill Justice Project)

Accused of shaking an infant to death, Pamela Jacobazzi was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 32 years in prison. Jacobazzi, who has always maintained her innocence, served time from December 2000 until May 8, 2015, when she was released from prison on parole. Jacobazzi, pictured here on her first day of freedom, holds flowers that were gifted to her in celebration of her release. (Annabel Edwards/The Medill Justice Project)


Over 650,000 people are released from U.S. state and federal prisons each year, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Though statistics vary from state to state, many of these ex-prisoners struggle to find basic necessities—like housing—once they are back in society and are confronted with other challenges after their incarceration.

• 68 percent of former prisoners were arrested for a new crime within three years of their release and 77 percent were arrested within five years, according to the most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics research.

• More than half of all prison and jail inmates suffered from mental illnesses, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report.

• Four in 10 jail inmates and three in 10 federal and state prisoners were found to have symptoms of mental illnesses without a recent history of such problems, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report.

• 65 percent of ex-inmates secured a job soon after leaving prison, but only 45 percent were still employed eight months after their release, according to an Urban Institute Justice Policy Center study.

If you have information about issues related to life after prison, please contact The Medill Justice Project at medilljusticeproject@northwestern.edu, or 847-491-5840.


To view Medill Justice Project stories about life after prison, click the following links:

Life After

From Incarceration to Freedom: A Journey of Faith

Missed Moments, New Memories

Photo Essay: Freewheeling

Video: Daughter and Mother in Motion

Hidden Scars

Video: Shadows and Ghosts