Monday, April 18, 2011

Missouri lauded for reduction of recidivism rate

The state of Missouri is receiving praise for improving its rate of criminals who return to prison three years or less after their initial release.

A recently released Pew study applauds Missouri for its decrease in prison recidivism, one of three states to do so.

Adam Gelb is ​ the director of the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Center on the States.

"The overall message is that while the national number is fairly flat, some states like Missouri are making significant progress in putting research about what works into action and cutting their return to prison rate. So I think what other states can take from Missouri is that this is not an intractable, unsolvable problem," Gelb said.

Missouri decided to follow the research and began laying out a plan in order to decrease their recidivism rates by using more effective and inexpensive ways to monitor offenders and using new strategies and technologies, instead of throwing them back in a prison cell, Gelb said.

"Our hope is that policymakers in Missouri and elsewhere will start to see that it’s time for a triumph of sound science over sound bite," Gelb continued. "It’s going to move beyond the tired old debate between treatment and punishment. The research shows you get the best impact when you combine the carrot and the stick."

Missouri has succeeded by bringing down their rate by 10 percent in three years.​

Rachel Weatherford, KRCU


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