Outgoing Missouri Corrections Director Larry Crawford and outside observers say he is leaving his department in better condition than it was, reports the Associated Press. Crawford is being replaced by George Lombardi, an appointment of new Gov. Jay Nixon. Crawford modernized such things as officers’ weapons and offender databases, making searches easier for the public and law enforcement. He is perhaps proudest of Missouri’s distinction as the only state whose prison population did not rise in the past three consecutive years.
Crawford supported what has become a national model for helping released prisoners re-enter society and not re-offend. Missouri’s prison population has begun rising again with the slumping economy, and whether it can be brought back down depends partly on jobs.