While fewer ex-offenders are coming back to Ohio prisons than in previous years, the state’s inmate population remains near a record high.
The latest statistics from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction released yesterday showed recidivism — the rate at which former offenders return to prison — hit 27.1 percent in 2010, an all-time low. The previous low was 28.7 percent.
The recidivism rate, which is calculated over a three-year period, is 40 to 44 percent nationally.
There were 24,284 people who left Ohio prisons, 87 percent of them men. Women do a better job than men of staying out of prison once they leave. The return rate for women was 15.6 percent, compared with 28.8 percent for men.
Most ex-offenders, men and women, return to prison because they commit new crimes. However, some are returned for “technical violations,” which are violations of terms of their release, such as not reporting to a parole officer or failing a drug test.
Prisons chief Gary Mohr called Ohio a national leader in reducing the recidivism rate.
“Reducing recidivism is the mission of this agency and at the core of everything we do,” Mohr said in a statement. “We are doing great things in our prisons and with our community partners to better prepare offenders for life after prison and help them become productive members of society upon release. Reduced recidivism increases the safety of Ohio’s communities.”
The lower rate is welcome news for prison officials as they struggle with a rising overall prison population. The most recent statewide count was 50,440, which is creeping up on the record high of 51,273 in 2008.
Some of the state’s lower numbers are because of a 2009 court decision that took 2,500 people off the Adult Parole Authority supervision rolls. However, Mohr also credits “reintegration units” in prisons that prepare offenders about to be released to adjust to the outside world and programs that connect offenders and families.
The full study can be seen HERE.
By Alan Johnson - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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