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Right on Crime | September 25, 2012
This morning, the Council of State Governments Justice Center released an encouraging new report on declining recidivism rates. The report examined the 2005 and 2007 recidivism rates in seven states: Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont. In all seven states, recidivism rates in 2007 were significantly lower than those in 2005. Indeed, one state–Michigan–realized an extraordinary decline of 18%. As the report explains, between 2005 and 2007, these seven states made a concerted effort to identify the offenders most at risk for re-offending, and they prioritized their limited re-entry resources for these at-risk populations. The Secretary of the Kansas Department of Corrections explained his department’s new philosophy: “One of my wardens constantly asks his staff, right down to the line staff, ‘What can we do to reduce recidivism?’ This gets them thinking that reentry is an important part of what they do…that they can do something to improve the likelihood that the people who leave their custody are successful when they return home.” The results speak for themselves: