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Michigan hits historical low for inmates returning to prison after release

Recidivism rate is 26.7%

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DETROIT – Fewer inmates are returning to prison after their release in Michigan, according to the Department of Corrections.

Data shows that the state’s recidivism rate -- the number of people who are incarcerated again within three years of release -- has dropped to the lowest it has ever been. The rate for offenders released in 2016 is 26.7 percent.

The rate released last year, which looked at recidivism numbers from the three years prior, was 29.1 percent, up from 2018′s rate of 28.1 percent, which was the lowest rate at that point.

According to the state, the rate has remained around 30 percent in recent years, after it dropped from 1998′s 45.7 percent rate.

This newly released data makes Michigan one of the top 10 states for low recidivism rates. Virginia currently has the lowest number of people returning to prison -- 23.1 percent.

The Michigan Department of Corrections credits the decrease in people returning behind bars to programs designed to prepare inmates for life after release. This includes the Vocational Village, a program that teaches skilled trades such as carpentry, coding and welding to people incarcerated at operates at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia and Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson.

Additionally, the state said it has more than 700 prisoners working on earning certificates and degrees. The state also noted that it uses supervision to help people stay on the right path when they are on parole.

“Incarceration affects more than just the person going to prison -- it impacts whole families and entire communities. That is why it is important for us to focus on smart reforms, like those made at the MDOC, so fewer people return to prison or find themselves there in the first place," said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. "Michigan is already a leader in the field, and we will continue to work hard to make sure the system works for more people.”

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