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Stay in Faith, A better life is on the horizon

Social Justice Blog

Social Justice Blog

Reducing Recidivism Increases Public Safety: A Counter-Intuitive Phenomena

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 12:35 AM

Reducing recidivism increases public safety and saves taxpayers’ money. According to Adam Gelb, Director of the Pew Center,  the reduction of 10 percent of repeated offenses will save the taxpayer more than a half-billion dollars in one year. Senator Portman, (R-OH) co-authored the Second Chance Act to “encourage people released from prison to become productive members of society”. The Second Chance Act provides funds for post-release supervision, housing and workforce development services of people coming out of prisons. The funds target two of the services needed for a successful reentry. Researchers, McQuire and Raynor (2006) identified seven aspects. Only the first three of these have been fully embraced; training, housing and employment. Unfortunately, just addressing these three have not reduced recidivism. Attitudes and behavior modification, care of children and family, finance and debt management have yet gained priority with most reentry programs. Why is the recidivism high? Even ex-offenders who have found jobs and housing are at-risk of committing another offence. It is the work of the State and local government to implement programs to reduce recidivism. In Louisiana, Governor Jindal signed HB442 to allow currently incarcerated offenders early release and intensive supervision for non-violent and non-sex offenders who have already served two years to enroll and successfully complete a 90-day drug treatment program. The program will be created and managed by the Department of Corrections. A mandatory substance abuse program is a wonderful start but the other aspects of reentry which have been proven to reduce recidivism are missing. Opportunities must be presented for ex-offenders to form positive relationships which are supported by the community. Community-based programs provide a high degree of responsivity since it tailors programs to the individual’s service needs. Creating an individual career and life goal plan promotes motivation, attitudes, cognitive and social behavior changes. Faith-based programs provide principles and habits that are needed to help one overcome or ignore negative stimuli and strive toward the positive. Faith-based programs in tandem with community-based programs are vital to the success of reentry programs. For example, Michigan invested in their Prisoner Reentry Program by funding housing, workforce services to acquire and maintain employment, as well as the transition support needed by employing community based programming for released ex-offenders. Michigan’s recidivism rate was reduced by 18 percent. In Kansas, funds were allocated to community correction agencies who partnered with community-based service programs. Their focus was post-release supervision, housing, and workforce development. Kansas reduced its recidivism rate by 15 percent. In both these States, the value of community-based programs is evident.



All rights reserved Copyright © 2014 Jamillah M. Grant




Categories: Reducing Recidivism