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Recidivism rate among Wisconsin offenders is dropping

It has been observed that incarceration without available resources for rehabilitation tends to result in more crime when offenders leave prison walls. Without rehabilitation, life-skills training and other support, criminal offenders tend to become repeat offenders.

Thankfully, some Wisconsin inmates are benefitting from various programs designed to help them lead more successful lives after they have been released from prison, and recidivism rates in Wisconsin are dropping as a result.

The Wisconsin State Department of Corrections operates a so-called "re-entry" program at certain detention facilities around the state. The program is designed to teach life skills and provide other necessary support so that when inmates leave jail or prison, they can succeed in providing for themselves and avoid falling back into patterns of illegal behavior.

One of the skills that inmates may learn in the re-entry program is financial literacy. Because the economy is still in recovery, understanding how to budget and manage individual finances is perhaps more critical now than ever.

Other community organizations, including Goodwill's "Circles of Support" similarly provide services to inmates who have just been released back into the community. This program allows released offenders to meet in groups or individually, and to take advantage of several services, such as rides to the DMV so that state IDs can be obtained. This particular program is funded partially by the state Department of Corrections, but not all community programs have financial ties to the system.

These programs are truly helping recently released offenders remain on their feet. In fact, according to a recent study completed by the state's Department of Corrections, the three-year recidivism rate in Wisconsin dropped by more than 28 percent between 1993 and 2007. In practical terms this means that someone released in 1993 was one-and-a-half times more likely to reoffend within the first three years post-release than they would be if released now.

Incarceration of offenders alone does little for offenders or for society. Wisconsin's focus on rehabilitation and training is arguably more beneficial for everyone.

Source: Fox11Online.com, "Report: Recidivism rate declining in WI," Laura Smith, Oct. 27, 2012

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