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MANAGEMENT UPDATE.

PROMISING NEWS ABOUT RECIDIVISM

A focus on measuring and reducing recidivism over the last 15 years has resulted in multiple policy and management changes. But how successful have they been? 


An April report on recidivism by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Reentry Resource Center, demonstrates that there’s ample room for optimism.


According to the report, three-year reincarceration rates have declined 23% nationally since 2008 when the federal Second Chance Act was signed. Three-year recidivism rates increased in only eight states during that period. The largest decreases in three-year recidivism rates were experienced in California, (69%), South Carolina (42%), Colorado (40%), Texas (34%), Missouri (33%), and Michigan (30%).


 The report credits the Second Chance Act, for “infusing state and local efforts to improve outcomes.” It notes that a “rich body of evidence” now exists on what works to ease the transition out of prison and points to the federally-administered and funded National Reentry Resource Center, which disseminates effective approaches and provides webinars, briefs, infographics, podcasts and news about reentry management and policy approaches.


While state work on reentry has been ongoing for a number of years, new efforts continue to be front and center with governor executive orders in 2024  focused on this issue in Colorado, North Carolina and Washington. 


The April report describes the launch of a new program called Reentry 2030 last year, which may make the numbers even better. Four of the states that have joined thus far are: 

  •  Missouri, which aims to have 85% of incarcerated people employed within 30 days after release

  •  North Carolina, which has a goal of reducing the number of former inmates who are released into homelessness by 50%

  • Nebraska, which plans to ensure that all released individuals who are eligible are signed up for Medicaid before release

  • Alabama, which wants to increase employment services by 50% by 2030


The new report brings hope that recidivism isn’t a chronic disease for the incarcerated but can be successfully addressed.  Another bit of hope lies in states whose goals to increase educational opportunities in prison are becoming increasingly common, as are efforts to bring multiple agencies beyond departments of corrections and other justice-oriented agencies into state reentry initiatives services such as departments of labor, veteran affairs and human services. 


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