Governor’s executive order intended to reduce recidivism

DOVER — Gov. John Carney signed an executive order Tuesday aimed at easing the re-entry process for inmates leaving prison. The 27th executive order signed by the governor in his nearly two years in office, it establishes a commission that examines policies and procedures around re-entry.

Officials hope the Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission will better coordinates services to give offenders a better chance to succeed, reducing recidivism in the process.

“It’s our responsibility to look out for every Delawarean. We need to make sure offenders who serve out their sentences are able to re-enter society ready to positively contribute to their communities, and have the support they need to succeed,” Gov. Carney said in a statement. “This Executive Order will improve our existing reentry procedures, and in turn, reduce recidivism. That will help strengthen communities across our state.”

The council will be made up of members of the governor’s cabinet, the chief judge of the Court of Common Pleas, the attorney general, the executive director of the Criminal Justice Council and others.

The executive order was made possible by the state’s participation in the National Criminal Justice Reform Project, an initiative from the National Governors Association and the National Criminal Justice Association Center for Justice Planning to assist states in implementing criminal justice reforms.

“Ninety-eight percent of the people who enter Delaware prisons will return to the community. They are our neighbors,” Adam Balick, chair man of the commission, said in a statement. “We live, shop, and work in the same community.

“It is in all of our interests to give them the tools they need to succeed when they return to our community. We know the factors that lead to recidivism. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, among other things. We can lower recidivism rates in Delaware by helping these men and women reintegrate successfully.”

About 23,000 adults are released from Delaware Department of Correction facilities every year, although about three-quarters are rearrested within three years and most are reconvicted. Delaware’s percentage of probationers and its percentage of incarcerated adults are both higher than the national average.

Under the order, the Department of Correction’s Office of Research and Planning will be restructured into the Office of Planning, Research and Reentry and charged with putting in place the commission’s proposals.

 

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or mbittle@newszap.com. Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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