Press Release
State of Maryland
Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services
Communications Office Contact
Mark Vernarelli
410-339-5065 ~ mvernare li@dpscs.state.md.us

Marylandís Recidivism Rate Down Seven Points from 2007
Fewer inmates returning to prison thanks to partnerships, skills training, treatment, and programs

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TOWSON, MD (September 25, 2013)---The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) announced today that the recidivism rate---the rate ex-inmates are returning to prison or community supervision for new crimes within three years of release--- has been driven down, from 47.8% in 2007, to 40.5% in 2012.

The latest recidivism numbers show that of the 11,418 men and women released from prison in 2009, 4,619 (40.5%) returned to prison or supervision because of new crimes committed within three years of their release. This more than seven-point reduction means that roughly 1,400 fewer inmates released in 2009 returned to prison than those released in 2007.

Drug treatment, workforce development through job skills training and employment readiness, innovative partnerships and information-sharing with other agencies, a commitment to providing vital records, and DPSCS’ restorative justice initiative, Public Safety Works, have all contributed significantly to the decline in Maryland’s recidivism rate. In Baltimore City, the Department has pioneered a localized model of re-entry, which uses wrap-around offender services inside and outside prison walls to prepare inmates for their return to society.

Since 2007, DPSCS has entered into multiple partnerships---particularly with the departments of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Health and Mental Hygiene, and Natural Resources---in a concerted effort to create a more efficient system of delivering programs and services to offenders, and to create opportunities for inmates to improve themselves.

These efforts have increased the number of inmates receiving drug treatment, mental health services, job skill training, and educational services. Additionally, a departmental reorganization is eliminating barriers between DPSCS corrections and supervision disciplines, allowing custody and Community Supervision to work together, focusing on offender reentry, and a $15 million investment into a state of the art Offender Case Management System, are helping the Department to deliver offender programming and services more effectively than ever before.

“Marylanders are safer and fewer people are becoming victims because we have invested in technology, focused on maximizing drug treatment, educational and job skills training resources,” said DPSCS Secretary Gary D. Maynard. “We have also harnessed the power of inter-governmental partnerships, and began building more effective partnerships with non-profit and community service providers.”

With education being a key component of change behind bars, DPSCS’ partnership with the MD Dept. of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR) is critical. And that partnership has yielded tremendous results. From FY 2010 through FY 2013, the Correctional Education Program run by DLLR had 2,746 students receive high school diplomas; 3,419 complete a career and technology program; and 2,884 passed a national certification exam.

“The mission of the Maryland Department of Labor’s Correctional Education (CE) program is to provide incarcerated individuals with high quality services that facilitate successful transition into Maryland's workforce and communities,” said Maryland Labor Secretary Leonard Howie, who spoke at today’s news conference. “With Correctional Education reporting the highest GED pass rate since 1994 along with the strides being made by the Education and Workforce Training Coordinating Council for Correctional Institutions’ (EWTCCCI), DLLR is proud to have contributed to the DPSCS recent success of improving the recidivism rate.”

Working with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, DPSCS also shares information upon an offender’s entry into the pretrial system in Baltimore City, ensuring that any past interaction with DHMH for health, mental health and drug treatment is recorded in the offender’s electronic health records. This enables DPSCS to create a tailored continuity of care based on the offender’s needs, quickly and efficiently. This digital information swap has now been expanded to DPSCS’ correctional and community supervision populations.

"This is an exciting partnership," said Dr. Gayle Jordan-Randolph, Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health and Disabilities at DHMH. "By working together to ensure continuity of care for individuals involved in the criminal justice system, we believe we are more likely to ensure a successful return to the community."

Breaking the cycle of addictions is also critical in keeping ex-inmates out of prison. In FY 13, more than 2,100 inmates completed drug treatment programs, including intensive long-term residential programs at the pre-release level.

The Department has made inmate healthcare a priority, aggressively screening for, and treating, chronic diseases and conditions, allowing more inmates to return to society healthier, and thus able to work. We have increased HIV testing by more than 300% since 2007, and through increased chronic care surveillance, DPSCS has reduced the outside inmate hospital admissions.

In addition, DPSCS has on average 440 inmates a day working on meaningful community projects that help “connect” inmates with the neighborhoods to which they’re returning. Public Safety Works, heralded by communities and non-profits all across the state, features hundreds of inmates training service dogs for wounded veterans; gleaning farm fields for the MD Food Bank; helping towns recover from flooding; repairing shuttered public pools and playgrounds; and restoring historic cemeteries and battlefields, to name just a few.

Maryland Correctional Enterprises is using more inmates than ever---employing on average 2,000 a month---and helping them succeed beyond prison through MCE C.A.R.E.S., a structured re-entry assistance program. And the Department has entered into major public works projects which have inmates being trained by professional licensed contractors in masonry, concrete work, and hazardous materials abatement.

Through the Maryland House of Correction project, more than 140 inmates have been trained in OSHA safety, basic construction workplace knowledge. Each of these inmates will leave prison with pre-apprenticeship certifications. This green deconstruction project is saving tax dollars, landfill space, and giving many inmates the head start on learning skills that are very marketable in today’s economy.

The Department has also focused on getting inmates the personal identification and vital statistics paperwork they will need upon release. Since FY 10, DPSCS has increased by 40% the number of inmates receiving State ID cards and other records, crucial for offenders to find post release employment, housing and other services.

Other key components in the re-entry services area include a re-entry preparedness model program at the Baltimore Pre-release Unit; Offender Employment Specialist trainings at locations throughout the state; and a special program offering limited Internet access to inmates to help them get a head start on potential jobs. That program has trained more than 1,900 inmates in the first six months of this year.

Eliminating family barriers to re-entry has also become a greater priority, with DPSCS working with Community Mediation Maryland and others to help rebuild burned bridges with inmates’ loved ones in order for them to have a stable home upon release.

Today’s announcement was made at the Bishop Robinson Occupational Skills Training Center, the DPSCS Baltimore facility which trains soon-to-be-released men in a variety of specialized skills, from HVAC to printing and roofing. A recent study shows that men who had completed training from OSTC’s programs had just a 19% recidivism rate.