Eighty Percent Of Male State Inmates Released In 2005 Arrested Again By 2010
By JOSH KOVNER
February 14, 2012
Of the 14,400 men released from Connecticut prisons in 2005, nearly 80 percent were rearrested by 2010, and just under half returned to prison with new sentences, according to a just-completed report that contains the most detailed data ever compiled on the state's recidivism rate.
The report, by Office of Policy and Management statistical guru Ivan Kuzyk, is scheduled to be released Wednesday. It also separately tracked sex offenders within the group and found that only a small number committed new sex crimes.
For example, of the 746 inmates who had served a prison term on a sex charge, 27, or 3.6 percent, were charged with a new sex crime; 20, or 2.7 percent, were convicted; and 13, or 1.7 percent, were returned to prison with a sentence for a new sex crime.
That suggests sex offenders respond well to supervision and treatment, and don't commit new sex crimes at the rate the public thinks they do, said Michael Lawlor, Gov.Dannel P. Malloy's chief of criminal-justice policy.
But whether the findings change long-held perceptions about sex offenders in the community remains to be seen. The state's first secure treatment program for sex offenders — a 24-bed facility in Montville — opened three weeks ago, but not before opponents of the center filed a lawsuit to try to block it.
The overall rates in the report — 78.6 percent of the 14,400 rearrested; 49.8 percent returned to prison with new sentences — appear to jibe with national rates and are higher than those some states, but lower than others, said Kuzyk.
An often-cited study by the Department of Justice in 2002 found that 67 percent of prisoners it had tracked were rearrested, and 52 percent landed back in prison with a new sentence.
The Connecticut figures "while alarming, are about what you would expect,'' said Kuzyk, who worked with parole and probation officers, treatment counselors, and the state Department of Correction on the project. The team compiled an offense profile for each of the released inmates over the five years.
Lawlor said the report establishes benchmarks that will allow the state to track the progress of reform. He said it's possible to reduce recidivism rates by adjusting the way probation and parole officers supervise, and by improving the way the system assesses low-, moderate- and high-risk inmates before and during release.
Of the 14,398 inmates released in 2005, most were on some type of supervision — such as parole, probation, in a halfway house, or on work release.
The Courant reported on Sunday that since 1970, more than 15,000 ex-prisoners have skipped out on parole or walked away from halfway houses, and just shy of 1,100 are still missing. The median time on the lam was 70 days, and all of them had convinced the parole board at one time or another that they would abide by the conditions of their release.
Kuzyk said the research also showed that age and prior prison history had a lot to do with whether someone could make it on the outside. He said former inmates aged 18 to 24 generally returned to prison at twice the rate of those aged 40 to 46. But a 45-year-old career criminal was more likely to return to prison than a 24-year-old, first-time offender.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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