Tuesday, October 30, 2012

WI - Report: Recidivism rate declining

Original Article

When looking at sex crimes, recidivism should be defined as committing another sex crime, not just any crime or technical violation, then the recidivism rate would be even lower.


By Laura Smith

GREEN BAY - Prisoners at Green Bay Correctional Institution are learning about financial literacy.

Education is a big part of the state corrections department's re-entry program at GBCI.

Deputy Warden Sarah Cooper says the program is designed to help inmates cope with life after prison.

"There's a lot of different things that we try to teach, and meet core competencies, so that when they do go back to society, they have some skills to succeed," said Cooper.

Cooper added if an inmate can succeed on the streets without going back to a life of crime, everybody wins.

"There's less victims, there's less incarceration, it costs less money and we want the inmates to go out into the community and succeed," said Cooper.

Circles of Support, a Goodwill Industries program, has a similar mission aimed at reducing repeat crimes, also known as recidivism.

Through group meetings and individual sessions, "Circles" helps recently released prisoners transition from incarceration to the community.

"They may come out without a state ID where they can't get a job, they can't do anything without that. So we'll drive them to the DMV and get that taken care of, and we'll just meet them where they're at," said regional director Anne Strauch.

Strauch said statistics show the program, which is funded in part by the Department of Corrections, is on the right track.

"Right now, I just figured out the statistics for 3/4 of the year and we're at 98.5%. So 1.5% have been revoked and back into prison, which is pretty good," Strauch said.

Are the various re-entry efforts in Wisconsin working? According to a new Department of Corrections report , the answer is yes. It shows the rate at which prisoners are committing new crimes after their release from prison is on a downward trend.

"As long as that rate keeps coming down, I think that's a positive sign for safety in Wisconsin," said Department of Corrections secretary Gary Hamblin.

The report tracked nearly the recidivism rates of 125 thousand offenders over a period of 20 years. It looked at people released from prison who re-offend within a three year period.

Recidivism is defined in the study as a new offense resulting in a conviction and sentence to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
- Like said above, for sex offenders, recidivism should be the commission of another sex crime.

Analyzing follow-up periods of one, two, and three years, the report shows the three-year follow-up recidivism rate decreased by 28.5% from 1993 to 2007.

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