The rate of assaults by prisoners against New York State correction officers dropped to a 25-year low last year, reports the Associated Press. There were 517 prisoner-on-staff assaults in 2005, down from 962 in 1995. The number of prisoner-on-prisoner assaults in 2005 was 686, down from 1,741 in 1995. A state Department of Correctional Services report said safety programs, early release for good behavior by nonviolent offenders, and active participation in academic and drug programs have contributed to a 42 percent decrease in recidivism, or the number of inmates returning to prison for new crimes within two years of their release. There was 8.1 percent recidivism on felonies within two years in 2003, down from 13.7 percent recidivism in 1994.
The prisoner population declined to 62,732 from 68,489 in 1995. “The data show our prisons today are safer than ever before for staff, inmates, and visitors,” said Commissioner Glenn Goord. “There is still a substantial amount of violence between inmates and inmates and staff,” said Jack Beck of the Correctional Association of New York, a watchdog group. He based his statement on the group’s survey of more than 1,000 prisoners from late 2005 into this year.