40 Percent of Ex-cons Wind Up Back Behind Bars
04/13/2011 - More than 40 percent of ex-cons commit crimes within three years of their release and wind up back behind bars, despite billions in taxpayer dollars spent on prison systems that are supposed to help rehabilitate them, according to a study released Wednesday.
The study by the Pew Center on the States concluded there was only marginal improvement in the nation's recidivism rate even as spending on corrections departments has increased to about $52 billion annually from around $30 billion a decade ago.
The stubborn recidivism rates are a sign the programs and policies designed to deter re-offenders were falling short, and lawmakers should consider treatment-based alternative sentences for nonviolent offenders, said Adam Gelb of the center's Public Safety Performance Project.
"We know so much more today than we did 30 years ago when prisons became the weapon of choice in the fight against crime," he said.
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