How NJ’s recidivism rate compares to the rest of the country
Programs in and out of prison, and employees who truly want to help individuals find and maintain the right path, help the Garden State boast a recidivism rate well below the national average.
According to the state's latest figures, which look at the years 2014 through 2016, 31% of inmates freed from jail end up behind bars for another offense down the line. That's compared to a national recidivism rate of 68%, according to the National Institute of Justice.
In an emailed statement to New Jersey 101.5, the Department of Corrections said it "remains committed to rehabilitating the entire person."
"The Department accomplishes this by providing a range of re-entry programs and by developing initiatives like those that focus on addressing mental health issues and treating substance use disorders," DOC said. "All of these activities combined help to achieve a reduction in recidivism."
The state's prison population overall has dropped by about 10,000 since the start of the century.
According to the New Jersey State Parole Board, revocations are down from roughly 4,000 in the year 2000 to a little more than 1,600 in the year 2018.
Sam Plumeri, chairman of the State Parole Board, said those who make a mistake while under supervision aren't "haphazardly" sent back to prison. These mistakes aren't always a crime on their own, but violate the terms of parole. And in some cases, Plumeri said, the error may serve as an opportunity to divert an individual to a program where they can be "retooled and reeducated."
"The easy thing to do is just revoke someone and send them back to jail," Plumeri said. "We don't do that. We take a very hard look at what each individual has done."
The State Parole Board currently has approximately 15,500 offenders under supervision.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.