Steadily declining recidivism across the country

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The Council of State Governments Justice Center’s National Reentry Resource Center released a policy brief that found  70 percent of all states currently have steady or declining recidivism rates. According to the brief released in September, several states including Texas, Ohio, Kansas and Michigan have experienced “significant declines in their three-year recidivism rates based on data tracking individuals released from prison in 2005 and 2007.”

According to the report, part of this decline can be attributed to the Second Chance Act, which was passed with bi-partisan support. The Second Chance Act has allowed state and local governments and their community-based partners to develop new reentry initiatives to help past offenders successfully return to their communities after incarceration. It also provides the opportunity to expand existing efforts to reduce recidivism.

States across the country have employed various techniques to reduce the risk for reoffending and to help offenders successfully reintegrate into their communities. In Ohio, a validated risk assessment instrument allows officials to assess which individuals are at the highest risk for committing future crimes. Officials are thus able to focus the state’s limited resources for treatment and supervision on these high-risk individuals. In Kansas, state leaders improved services for housing and workforce development. They also “partnered with local communities where recidivism rates were highest to improve post-release supervision,” in addition to awarding grants to community corrections agencies that decreased recidivism rates. In Michigan, the state’s Prison Reentry Program received heavy funding from officials, “in order to provide the most effective community-based programming for released individuals.”

Republican Ohio Senator Rob Portman, co-author of the Second Chance Act, stresses the significance of declining recidivism rates: “Encouraging people released from prison to become productive members of society not only strengthens communities, but also reduces the burden on taxpayers who shoulder the costs associated with incarceration.” Director of the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project, Adam Gelb, echoes Senator Portman’s sentiments. According to Gelb, our country stands to gain a lot by focusing on efforts to reduce recidivism. Because prison costs decline as recidivism declines, reducing the recidivism rate by 10 percent could save the United States half a billion dollars in a single year.

BI Incorporated, a division of GEO Care, works with many jurisdictions that have implemented alternative to detention programs in these states and as a result of the Second Chance Act. For more information on BI programs that can reduce recidivism, call 303-218-1000.

Read more here: States’ success in reducing recidivism.