The percentage of Maryland ex-offenders likely to return to prison within three years of release has fallen by double digits since 2000, reports the Baltimore Sun. Gary Maynard, the top official at the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, credited the prison system’s improved educational and job skills training programs, as well as stronger partnerships with state agencies that provide medical and mental health services to inmates and upon their release.
He added that efforts to evaluate academic aspirations and substance abuse and behavioral treatment needs at the start of prison sentences are paying off. He described that as “focusing on re-entry at reception.” The rate at which ex-inmates are returned to prison or put on probation for new crimes within three years of release stood at 40.5 percent in 2012, an almost 3 percent drop from the previous year and almost 11 percent lower than in 2000, when the state’s recidivism rate was 51.4 percent. The falling recidivism rate was a positive note for the beleaguered corrections system, which continues to implement reforms after a federal jail smuggling and corruption investigation that involved more than a dozen corrections officers in the Baltimore City Detention Center.