Expanded rehabilitation and treatment programs have helped prompt a significant decline in the number of ex-convicts who return to prison in Texas, reports the Austin American-Statesman. A study by the Council of State Governments shows that Texas’ recidivism rate — the number of felons who return to prison within three years after they are discharged or paroled — posted an 11 percent drop for prisoners released in 2007. Between 2000 and 2007, the recidivism rate dropped 22 percent, according to the report.
The report cites the dropping recidivism rates as proof that the emergence of additional rehabilitation and treatment programs is working, even as some criminologists note that the average age of offenders is rising — and older people tend to commit fewer crimes than younger ones. In Michigan, which has been working on new treatment and re-entry initiatives since 2003, the recidivism rate dropped by 18 percent between 2005 and 2007. In Kansas, which has been expanding treatment and rehab programs since 2004, the drop was 15 percent. Ohio and Vermont posted an 11 percent drop. In Mississippi, the rate dropped 9 percent. In Oregon, 8 percent. For Texas, the 11 percent drop meant that 1,212 fewer felons came back to prison.