Capitol Hill Event Showcases Progress in Reentry and Recidivism Reduction

June 8, 2017

The National Reentry Resource Center and The Council of State Governments Justice Center today released two briefs at an event on Capitol Hill highlighting efforts to reduce recidivism in communities throughout the country.

Making People’s Transition from Prison and Jail to the Community Safe and Successful: A Snapshot of National Progress in Reentry features advancements made in state and local governments’ approaches to reentry and recidivism reduction since the passage of the Second Chance Act in 2008. It underscores the involvement of diverse constituencies and systems in these efforts, the field’s increasing understanding and application of what works to reduce recidivism, and promising recidivism outcomes in a number of states, while also pointing to the critical work ahead.

“The success we’ve seen is not only a result of the hard work of the dedicated professionals in the law enforcement and criminal justice fields, but also the businesses, educational institutions, health facilities, faith-based organizations and other constituencies that have embraced the goal of making a person’s transition from the criminal justice system into the community safe and successful,” said U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), a co-author of the Second Chance Act.

U.S. Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Danny Davis (D-IL) Scott Taylor (R-VA), and Doug Collins (R-GA) attended the Capitol Hill event to laud local efforts to improve public safety by reducing recidivism and call on Congress to reauthorize the Second Chance Act.

“The science on what works to reduce recidivism has improved dramatically over the last 15 years, and the Second Chance Act has had a lot to do with that advancement,” Davis said. “As these states continue to apply these data-driven approaches, I’m confident we’ll continue to see these kinds of achievements highlighted in this brief.”

Enacted in April 2008, the Second Chance Act was first-of-its-kind legislation passed with bipartisan support and backed by a broad spectrum of leaders in law enforcement, corrections, courts, behavioral health, and other areas. The law provides state and local governments and community-based organizations across the country with vital resources to improve success rates for adults and youth released from prison and jail. The reauthorization legislation would allow pivotal investments in strategies to reduce recidivism and increase public safety to continue for an additional four years.

Reducing Recidivism: States Deliver Results—a brief complementing A Snapshot of National Progress in Reentry—was also released today and highlights new data showing recidivism reduction in a number of states:

  • Arizona: 29-percent decline in probation revocations to prison between 2008 and 2016
  • Colorado: 24-percent decline in the rate of probation revocations between 2006 and 2015
  • Michigan: 43-percent decline in people returning to prison from parole between 2006 and 2015
  • North Carolina: 42-percent reduction in probation revocations between 2006 and 2015
  • South Carolina: 46-percent decline in technical revocations between 2010 and 2015
  • Texas: 33-percent decline in revocations to prison for people on parole between 2007 and 2016
  • Georgia: 35-percent decline in parole revocations to prison between 2007 and 2016

“The results shared today underscore the meaningful impact the reentry movement has had on statewide efforts to reduce recidivism, and Georgia is a fine example of that success,” said Justice Michael Boggs of the Georgia Supreme Court, who also serves as co-chair of Georgia’s Criminal Justice Reform Council.

Highlighting data on people under community supervision for a more comprehensive picture of recidivism, the brief describes a sampling of recent policy changes that have taken place in each of the featured states. Some of the Second Chance Act grant awards received by various agencies and organizations in each state are also detailed in the brief.

“While no single piece of legislation is going to solve the reentry crisis we face on its own, the Second Chance Act was once a good start and now has become a foundational piece for the future fight against recidivism,” Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) said. “Maintaining the bipartisan support for this act will be critical to continuing on the path we started to improve criminal justice and make our families stronger and our communities safer.”

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