At his weekly press conference, Kentucky Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear recently revealed that recidivism rates in the Bluegrass state have fallen to a record-low of 27.15%, down from 44.56% in 2017. By comparison, California’s has been hovering around 50% for years.
The governor hailed the accomplishments of various efforts that have assisted incarcerated residents in finding employment and receiving addiction treatment at record levels, according reporting by The Associated Press. He credited these for preventing more Kentuckians from going back to jail or prison.
“Those are people that are getting in secure jobs, hopefully getting back with their families,” Beshear said. “They are not reoffending and they are contributing to society.”
Beshear cited a recent study that found 75% of prisoners who successfully completed the correctional department’s treatment program were still employed a year after being released from incarceration.
“This is treating the cause,” Beshear said. “So many of these crimes probably began with an addiction that led to the crimes. Treating the addiction helps prevent the type of recidivism that we have seen in the past.”
According to Beshear, the employment rate for people who have been released from state prison has increased to 57% from 49% over the last four years.
In order to enable formerly incarcerated to access the services they need, whether treatment for addiction or help with job interviews, the governor praised a statewide project that offers no cost transportation.
He also credited the corrections department for beefing up its reentry staff along with a “prison-to-work” initiative started last year that helps arrange jobs for incarcerated people before they leave prison.
Even with the record low levels of people reoffending and committing new crimes in his state, Beshear wants to see those figures fall even lower.
“I still believe and continue to believe that good people in the nonprofit sector and the private sector and in government, working together, can make a difference in our society,” Beshear said in regards to reducing recidivism. “We can get on a better track, which makes us safer in our communities.”