Fewer reformed criminals return to prison

The Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) announced a significant decline in the overall recidivism rate for adult offenders for the second consecutive year. This data comes from a recent recidivism study that that tracks the number of adult offenders returning to incarceration within three years of their release date from a state correctional facility.

According to the study, of the approximately 19,000 adult offenders released in 2009, only 36.1% have returned to custody by 2012, a percentage reduction of nearly 5% from 2011's recidivism rate of 37.9%. After peaking at 39.3% in 2010, the recidivism rate for adult offenders has decreased a percentage reduction of more than 8% in just two years.

This reduction in recidivism demonstrates the success of the Department's efforts in preparing offenders for successful re-entry through rehabilitative and redemptive programming. While serving their sentence, offenders have the opportunity to participate in numerous programs aimed at reducing their risk of reoffending, including substance abuse, anger management, parenting, and character and faith development programs.

"One of the impacts of reducing the rate of recidivism is stronger, healthier Hoosier families and communities. Our staff work diligently to prepare offenders for the transition back into the community and give them the tools they need to lead a lawful and productive life after release," commented IDOC Commissioner Bruce Lemmon. "The mission that drives the Indiana Department of Correction is not only to keep the public safe, but to help change lives by breaking the cycle of crime and giving these men and women a second chance."

In recent years, the Department has also increased its focus on educational and vocational programs that provide offenders with useful job skills and training that can help them find and retain employment after they are released. Ongoing research shows a strong correlation between education, employment and a reduction in recidivism. The Department has a successful partnership that with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to provide apprenticeship programs and USDOL certification that can lead to jobs on the outside. The IDOC also works closely with other state agencies and community partners to connect offenders with necessary services and resources to help them overcome the obstacles often encountered by ex-offenders, such as obtaining proper identification and locating treatment or housing.

The IDOC's Research and Planning Division collected, analyzed, and presented the recidivism data. The Department has been studying and monitoring Indiana's recidivism rates since 2005. An offender is included in this study when they are released through one of the following avenues: Community Transition Program (CTP), Probation, Parole, or Discharge. Once released, an offender is verified as a recidivist if they return to the institutional custody of the IDOC for a new conviction or a technical violation of post-incarceration supervision within three years of their release date.


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