Local Politics

Lawmakers get ideas on reducing recidivism

Posted October 6, 2010 12:53 p.m. EDT
Updated October 6, 2010 1:29 p.m. EDT

— Within three years of getting out of prison, ex-convicts are 36 to 40 percent more likely to commit another crime, Attorney General Roy Cooper told lawmakers Wednesday.

Cooper addressed the Joint Select Committee on Ex-Offender Reintegration into Society, a group of House and Senate members that is developing a plan to help former inmates.

He shared some ideas of the StreetSafe Task Force, a group that he and state Correction Secretary Alvin Keller head that offers tools and tips to ex-convicts to make them productive citizens as they return to their communities.

The following are some of the task force's 24 preliminary recommendations:

  • Strengthen and support nonprofit groups helping ex-offenders integrate back into their communities.
  • Increase contact between offenders and their families before an offender gets out of prison.
  • Assign inmates to both educational and work programs to increase participation.
  • Improve job training opportunities for inmates.
  • Build networks with private employers and provide incentives to hire ex-convicts.
  • Establish incentives to develop housing for former inmates.

"When you take this effort, when you coordinate it, when you try to re-integrate people back into society and you reduce the number of repeat offenders, you protect people from crime, you save money and you help people," Cooper said.

A final list of suggestions from the task force will be sent to Gov. Beverly Perdue soon, he said.

The legislative committee is scheduled to meet again in two weeks to learn more about other states' programs for reducing recidivism.