Texas has sent 11 percent fewer ex-convicts back to prison in recent years thanks in part to expanded rehabilitation and treatment programs, according to a new study released today by the Council of State Governments' Justice Center.
The study analyzed the recidivism rates for prisoners released between 2000 and 2007, finding a decline of 22 percent over the period, according to the Austin American-Statesman
Texas has greatly expanded drug and alcohol treatment programs over the past five years. In addition, parole rates are up while parole revocations are down.
"The numbers are significant, but the real impact is fewer crime victims," said Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire, a Democrat who started pushing prison reforms in 2007 to focus more on rehabilitation and treatment. "For every person who doesn't go back to prison, there is one fewer crime, one fewer crime victim."
The justice center report also noted significant reductions in recidivism as well in other states that have adopted expanded rehabilitation programs.
"As policymakers are under tremendous pressure to cut spending wherever possible, Republican and Democratic elected officials alike have made the case that improved efforts to reduce re-offense rates among people released from prison would save money and increase public safety," the report states. "Many states are now presenting data that indicates declines in statewide recidivism rates."
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