New Jersey is in the midst of an ambitious pilot program to find out what combination of services works best at keeping ex-inmates from returning to state prisons, reports the Associated Press. The $2 million program, Another Chance, is part of the state’s stepped-up effort to lessen the percentage of ex-cons who re-enter state prison. It’s also a key component of Gov. Corzine’s strategy to combat gang and gun violence. The pilot program offers a range of social, job and medical services to 1,300 people with criminal convictions, then tracks the results.
Shavar Jeffries, who is overseeing re-entry programs until a permanent director comes on board this month, said data are being collected from newly admitted prisoners, those about to leave prison, and some on parole. Every year in New Jersey, 14,000 adults and 1,600 juveniles are released from correctional facilities. As many as 65 percent of the adults will be re-arrested within five years, and 37 percent of juveniles will return to correctional facilities within two years. Inmates and parolees in the program can receive an array of services including job training and behavioral therapy, anger management, and parenting classes.