Fewer Ohio inmates are returning to prison

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections announced on Thursday that offender recidivism is at an 11-year low.

Officials said that only 34 percent of inmates are returning to Ohio prisons after their release. The agency cites the progress to their efforts to rehabilitate and prepare inmates for productive life after incarceration.

The recidivism rate was previously 36.44 percent. Nationally, that rate hovers around 50 percent according to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The Ohio DRC said they have taken great strides in attempting to reduce the number of offenders who return to prison, both as a matter of public safety and fiscal responsibility.

They attribute a number of to their recent success, including refined reception procedures which provide better assessments and identification of needs for new inmates, revised processes for assessing offender risk levels and better targeting programming needs for offenders under the supervision of the Adult Parole Authority.

Other contributing factors include a more structured system of sanctions for offenders under supervision, staff training in offender case management and expanded use of a variety of evidence based supervision practices and community diversion alternatives to incarceration.

“Our evidence-based programming, structured supervision, enhanced staff training and community corrections partnerships are working,” said DRC Director Gary Mohr in a press release. “However, we must continue to improve every aspect of our rehabilitative approach to further drive down recidivism, and ensure those who enter our system are given the opportunity to become productive members of society upon release.”

Agencies calculate recidivism every three years. The current statistics are based on inmates who were released in 2007. Of the inmates who returned to prison for that time period, roughly 7 percent came back for technical or supervision violations, while about 27 percent returned for committing another felony.

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