Participants in a Bush administration prisoner re-entry program had a recidivism rate of only 15 percent, far less than the average 44 percent one year after release, says the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. In a final report, the office said that nearly 16,000 people had been helped as of last September, at a cost of $115 million. That is a small fraction of the roughly 700,000 prisoners released every year in the nation. The report said that grants went to 73 faith-based organizations and 63 criminal justice agencies.
Of the roughly 16,000 ex-convicts enrolled in various programs, nearly 11,000 were placed in jobs; others went to educational programs and skills training. The report also discussed the separate federally funded Serious and Violent Offenders Re-entry Initiative, which got $110 million in federal funds. Participants in that program were 15 percent more likely to have a job and 12 percent less likely to test positive for drugs than were non-participants, 15 months after their prison release. Prisoner re-entry programs will be started or expanded under the new federal Second Chance Act, which has not been funded yet by Congress.