North Carolina is one of eight states whose efforts to reduce recidivism rates were recognized by a national study that tracked how many people return to prison after being released.
North Carolina saw a 19.3 percent decrease in recidivism, according to the report from the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the National Re-entry Resource Center.
Crime rates also declined, and fewer people were imprisoned as a whole, in the eight states studied.
The state’s improving rate was credited to a Justice Reinvestment initiative that began in 2009 during which policy makers looked at the reasons people returned to prison. Their findings showed that 50 percent of all re-incarcerations were from people who had their probation revoked, and that of those 76 percent had not committed a new crime. As a result, in 2011, the state passed legislation aimed at strengthening community supervision and reducing the probation violations.
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Adam Gelb, director of Pew’s Public Safety Performance Project, said the effectiveness of the act is reflected in the report.
“States like Georgia and North Carolina are demonstrating the value of a justice reinvestment approach, in which elected officials work across party lines and use data to design strategies that not only cut both recidivism and incarceration rates, but save taxpayers millions of dollars in the process,” he said.
The reduced rates have allowed North Carolina to close nine correctional facilities, and fund 175 more probation officers, and community-based treatment programs, according to the report.
Other states included in the report were Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Wisconsin.