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Recidivism

ABC released an article following the story of a convicted man, Micah Turner, and his hopes to reduce recidivism. He was convicted of three charges of manslaughter of his daughter, son and brother-in-law in after rolling his car. He originally was only sentenced to ten years’ probation with two years of house arrest, but then served eight years in prison after breaking his probation. He eventually came to terms with himself and what he had done while being incarcerated. He had a lot of time to reflect and when he was released realized how hard it is to return to society.

From his experience, He said the prison facility gives you a bus ticket and $50 upon release but offer no other programs or help once inmates are released. It makes life very difficult for individuals and leads to higher rates of recidivism. According to the Florida Department of Corrections, one-third of inmates released return to Florida prisons within five years of their prison release date. In order to help fight this number and offer assistance to inmates being released from prison, Turner came up with a solution.

Turner and his wife started collecting items such as  clothing and toiletries to give to men and women when they get out of prison. They create small care packages for people to help their transition back into society. With these packages people have a better chance of providing for themselves leading to less recidivism. They are hoping to continue to be able to provide for those and help rehabilitate former inmates into society.

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Recidivism

A program aimed at decreasing juvenile recidivism and conviction of crimes was created a year ago in Southwest Virginia, according to an article published by the SWVA Today. The program is called Functional Family Therapy services and was created to intervene with youth before they get too involved in the criminal justice system. The program offers family-based treatment and diversion services by working with juveniles who suffer from substance use and behavioral or emotional issues. However, this program is working on trying to intervene in a different way than the usual standard. It requires that all of the child’s family participate in the program, as it makes therapy for the child more effective and for their siblings as well if they have any. This helps reduce the risk of their siblings becoming involved in crimes as well.

The program was finally able to launch after receiving the funding it needed. It focuses on youth in the age ranges of 11 to 18, who are referred by their probation officers. The therapy providers also travel to the children’s homes to eliminate and help with transportation issues. It also helps the families and children feel more comfortable and willing to participate as it is in a place where they feel safe and welcomed. “The 29th Judicial District already has a handful of youth enrolled in the program” and are hoping to expand the program even more. They feel it is working and helping reduce recidivism rates in juveniles. Also, it is helping keep their siblings out of jail by providing the services in home and looking to educate youth to keep them off the streets.

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Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

A 2019 article published by Gallup highlights the struggles of substance abuse for Americans. According to the article, “close to half of U.S. adults, 46% have dealt with substance abuse problems in their families.” Broken down, 18% of this 46% have just alcohol related abuse issues, 10% have drug related abuse and 18% have experienced both alcohol and drug problems. The survey given reported that 36% of Americans have had alcohol and drug abuse cause issues in their families and affect their lives. There were also alarming conclusions that the percentage of users affected by these numbers are under the age of 55 and have higher rates of alcohol abuse and drug abuse than those over the age of 55, which is what would have been expected given that adults in these ages are more likely to abuse substances.

The article also touched on who was more likely to report family problems due to these issues. Women were more likely than men to report drug problems, but adults without college degrees, 39%, were more likely to report family drinking problems than those with a degree. Religion also was mentioned as an influence on whether or not people suffer from problems with drinking and drugs. Those who rarely attend religious services had higher rates of family problems due to these substance abuses. As time goes on, there are more reported drinking problems higher than any other decades now, which has now reached 36%. These drug and abuse problems are affecting families country wide and causing issues that are inflicting damage in families.

Individuals who are behind bars and struggling with a substance abuse add more stress to their families. They are already away from them and then they still suffer from substance use, putting even more pressure on themselves and their families. In the criminal justice system, many inmates do not get the proper care or programming they need to overcome substance abuse. More programs should be made available in prisons to help them overcome addiction and start over. It will reduce recidivism rates and help keep families together.

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Recidivism

Recidivism has been a long-standing issue in the United States. Many are working to reduce recidivism rates and help people integrate better back into society after incarceration. Individuals struggle with having someplace to go and support when released from prison, which leads them to recidivate.

One solution to reducing recidivism is providing higher education as described in an article by the UCI. Since 2014, all 35 California state penitentiaries have partnered with community colleges to provide those incarcerated the chance to earn an associate degree. Further, UCI has launched an initiative, Leveraging Inspiring Futures Through Education Degrees, that is the first in-prison B.A. completion program offered by the University of California . This will allow for those incarcerated to earn a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

With “at least 95 percent of people in California prisons return[ing] to their communities”, most lack the skills and resources to be able to compete and succeed in today’s job market. With the help of the program, those who complete the program with at least a 3.5 GPA are automatically able to fully enroll in UCI once released. This breaks down the barrier of individuals lacking an education, not being able to get one and helping set them up for a better future and being part of a safer community for all.

The program is working hard to change the lives of those affected by incarceration in California and providing second, supportive chances at life. People deserve an education and to turn their lives around even if they have struggled in the past. Lowering recidivism rates through education makes the community safer and turns the lives around of people working hard to do so.

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Recidivism

The Crime Report published an article about how the Federal First Step Act continues to make a difference in penalties received by those who recidivate. The First Step Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in 2018. It allowed for offenders that were going to receive a minimum mandatory penalty or sentence to be reevaluated to reduce sentences that were unjust. The First Step Act also limited the “stacking” of penalties that would land individuals in prison for 25 years or more and has reduced these prison terms to five, seven or ten years.

The Commission said, “the number of federal offenders who got increased sanctions because of a record of previous offenses dropped by 15.2 percent, from 1,001 in fiscal year 2018 to 849 in the first year of First Step.” Even though in the past individuals had committed serious violent penalties, it did not subject them to more severe penalties based on this. “Of the 849 offenders subject to that provision of the law, only 36 had been convicted of one or more qualifying ‘serious violent felony’ offenses.” Only 11 were subject to enhanced penalties for convictions in which a weapon, robbery or assault was involved.

The First Step Act also created the allowance of offenders to seek “compassionate release” from prison by going to court instead of going to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. 145 inmates were granted compassionate release in the first year of the First Step Act compared to only 24 before the law was in effect. There is still a lot of work to be done surrounding reducing recidivism and helping individuals when it comes to penalties but many are hopeful the First Step Act will continue to help those and be the first step when it comes to moving towards a rehabilitative system instead of a punitive one.

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Community Supervision

The Chicago Tribune posted an article highlighting how a lack of ankle monitors is keeping defendants behind bars. Because of the shortage, many people who were up for parole are stuck in Cook County Jail. Their original release date has been pushed back and they are unable to do anything about it because the corrections facilities have run out of equipment. Amid COVID-19, there was a massive push to reduce jail populations in the hopes of reducing the risk of it spreading in facilities. Because of this, many inmates were released and placed on parole. This helped reduce the population behind bars drastically to help mitigate COVID-19. However, this has put more stress on the already limited supply of monitors available. With having to keep people in jail, this could cause a slow in the progress jails and prisons have made when it comes to stopping the spread.

Supplies are being replenished each week but very slowly with only 12 new monitors coming in to the facility to be used. Cook County Jail said they are expecting a shipment of 50 alternative devices and 26 defendants will have their electronic monitoring orders returned to be viewed by a judge. COVID-19 has created a lot of chaos when it comes to supply shortages in jails and prisons. It was not foreseen that this many people would be released on electronic monitoring devices to reduce prison populations. As more monitors come in, people who are stuck in jail are being released to serve their jail term or parole at home.

TRACKtech, LLC is a company working hard to provide companies and facilities with electronic monitoring devices. Our platform is user friendly and monitors all program members efficiently and in a timely manner. TRACKphone is a device that allows officers to check in with their program members regularly through biometric identification and allows them to monitor the program members location with customized geofencing applications. TRACKphone also provides extensive resources for program members to use to rehabilitate better into society. Our extensive platforms aim to reduce recidivism and can help get people stuck in jail out. The platform helps officers manage their caseloads more efficiently while still monitoring each one closely. During this crisis, TRACKtech, LLC has continued to improve their products and hopes to be able to do their part during these uncertain times by providing an electronic monitoring system during the shortage of them.

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Public Safety

Community supervision has become the new norm for officers to monitor individuals out on bail, during pretrial, or serving probation and parole time. However, it is difficult to monitor those who have committed low level offenses or are registered sex offenders, as they are not closely monitored through tracking devices. In an article posted by the Crime Report, it is estimated that 25,000 convicted sex offenders and predators across the U.S. are unaccounted for. This is due to them registering their addresses as homeless shelters or from them moving and never being located concluding that their whereabouts are unknown to law enforcement.

There is a concerning issue at hand for how to monitor these individuals on the limited budgets and time of officers. This shortcoming predates the pandemic and has only increased the problem as space in jails and prisons is limited, so many have been released. Although steps have been taken to try to protect victims and those harmed by these individuals, it is not always conclusive. State registries often have many errors, including wrong addresses, names of individuals that have passed away, and some that have not verified their whereabouts in years. A new way of addressing the issue and protecting the community is vital.

TRACKtech is committed to problem solving, especially when it comes to monitoring individuals and keeping the public safe. TRACKphone allows officers to monitor the location of their program member without having to visually see them, as they can promptly request check-ins that require biometric identification. Officers can also set up geofencing and parameters that alert them when offenders are violating designated locations. Behavioral and mental health resources and programs are available on the phone for program members to access to help rehabilitate them, instead of punishing them. With the pandemic in full swing and more individuals being released, TRACKtech can provide solutions to urgent matters.

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Community Supervision

Electronic supervision of individuals on probation and parole has been a very widespread and acceptable form of monitoring. With COVID-19 running rampant, facilities are scrambling for ways to reduce jail and prison overcrowding to keep inmates and staff members safe. There are now twice as many people under community supervision than are incarcerated in the U.S.

An article was published highlighting the difficulties of resources allocated for probation and parole. Many individuals are given probation sentences or being released on parole to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These two forms of release serve as alternatives to prison sentences with over 4.5 million people in the U.S. being supervised in the community, compared to 2.2 million being incarcerated in 2016. The numbers have only continued to rise since then. However, with this many people being supervised and probation and parole officers being limited, the extent of time spent with individuals is slim and can lead to re-incarceration. Recidivism is high for individuals who do not feel supported or given access to imperative resources when rehabilitating and entering society again. Probation and parole officers do their best to meet the needs of each individual they are in charge of but are stripped for time and resources when it comes to treating them with the same amount of support and focus.

TRACKtech understands the difficulty officers face when it comes to having too many caseloads to handle. That is why we have designed a fully integrated community supervision platform that allows officers to have more time within their large caseloads but also provides them with more resources and support to give individuals. Our TRACKphone allows supervision officers the ability to remotely check in with program members through biometric identification and videoconferencing. Geofencing capabilities are built into the phone and alerts are sent to officers when individuals are non-compliant or in violation of geoparameters. TRACKphone also has built in resources and programs for members to take advantage of and feel supported. This ultimately reduces recidivism and provides officers with more time to check in with program members to make sure they are able to rehabilitate into society.

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Justice Reform

The Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice published a statement highlighting the need for justice in youth prisons. The United States criminal justice system like many other systems has flaws. The U.S. has long been the global leader in youth incarceration, as it locks young people up at a higher rate than any other nation. This effects not only the youth, but also their families and social ties by creating trauma and burdens on all. Youth incarceration is overused, as well as ineffective and inefficient when it comes to changing their behavior and positively influencing them.

More cities are realizing that in order to keep youth off the streets and out of jail, they need to have access to community programs and rehabilitative resources. Adolescents are still growing and developing when they are convicted of crimes and sitting in jail does not help them develop or learn from their mistakes. Punitive measures are becoming less and less conducive to changing the behavior of individuals, especially youth. Proper intervention for youth at risk of committing crimes is beneficial for the individual and public safety.

Racism also plays a heavy role in youth incarceration. With justice reform being a prominent topic right now, racism must also be addressed in youth prison systems. By dismantling youth prison systems, it protects children from physical and mental abuse, addresses the problem of racism, and provides alternatives to programs that will help steer adolescents in the right direction.

The joint statement by Fair and Just Prosecution and Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice on Youth Prisons highlights all of these issues and how improving youth corrections will improve public safety, reduce recidivism and keep children from falling into the revolving door of the criminal justice system. There needs to be positive and supportive change in their lives for them to realize the potential they have. Rehabilitation is the new ‘punishment’, in the hopes of helping adolescents stay out of prison and creating second chances for them.

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Public Safety
An article posted by Corridor News addresses issues surrounding homelessness and recidivism rates in the Austin community. “The Downtown Austin Community Court (DACC) has facilitated dramatic reductions in repeat offenses among individuals experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable populations”. The Court is aiming to help reduce these issues by showing compassion and care to individuals, by using a rehabilitative approach instead of incarceration or admitting them to hospitals. This leads to the improvement of the individuals lives and reduces strain on public systems, including jails and health care programs.

The DACC has already seen dramatic reductions according to a recent study. “The analysis of citations issued to a group of 59 individuals experiencing homelessness both before and after their engagement with DACC’s Intensive Case Management program reveals that the number of citations plummeted by 99% from 1,556 before participating in DACC services to just 7 afterward”. The mission of the DACC is to continue to serve individuals experiencing homelessness with person to person contact and a comprehensive approach. They want to create safe and respectful environments for people and to provide them with the help they need.

The DACC program is also working with the Intensive Case Management (ICM) to stop the issuing of fines that lead to arrests or threats of jail time. Instead ICM provides access to support systems and programs for substance abuse, mental health care, peer support, basic needs, and permanent and transitional housing. The case management team is currently working with 122 people to combat homelessness and provide a second chance for them. As the program grows, they are expecting to help more people get back on their feet by providing necessary and basic services to combat homelessness and recidivism.
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