With most of the country’s prisons facing serious overcrowding, many public safety officials are seeking strategies for reducing the recidivism rate (that is, the rate at which ex-convicts offend again). So far, research has pointed to a few factors that lead to decreased recidivism:
• Housing support: Some ex-convicts are barred from living in certain areas, and many have difficulty securing housing because of their criminal record or inability to get a job. Providing this crucial element of stability helps to keep offenders out of situations that might lead to reoffending.
• Health care and/or substance abuse treatment: Without strategies for staying sober or dealing with chronic mental and physical illnesses, the likelihood of recidivism increases.
• Training for legitimate jobs: Finding work is a huge hurdle for many ex-cons. Providing training in skills that are in demand, as well as “soft-skill” training (e.g., learning how to make a good impression in an interview), helps to overcome this barrier.
About Sheriff Gregory Munks
A law enforcement professional his entire adult life, Greg Munks has served as sheriff of San Mateo County since 2006. In this role, he introduced a re-entry facility that provides vocational training, substance abuse treatment, and health care to inmates returning to the public.