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"When discussing recidivism reduction plans within U.S. correctional agencies, many ideas surface. Some ideas are tried and true; some are progressive and cutting edge; some are recycled and restructured; but all are hopeful. In 2010, the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) began thoroughly examining its security measures, programs, human resources and their combined effectiveness in reducing recidivism … This started with an introduction of a new corrections paradigm. The paradigm focused on the principles of effective correctional treatment by determining risk classification, criminogenic needs and responsivity through cognitive-behavioral approaches. It placed the emphasis, once again, on creation of long-term public safety through offender change. While VADOC quickly moved to design and implement policies that reflected evidence-based practices (EBPs), it became apparent that a sweeping organizational culture change was necessary" (p. 1-2). The "push towards a holistic culture change at VADOC" came about by: promoting organizational culture change—strategic plan, the Healing Environment, dialogue, and learning teams; VADOC's Segregation Step-Down Program—since 2011 offenders in restrictive housing reduced 68% with serious prison incidents reduced 33%; and the Integrated Model for Reentry. "The agency's recidivism rate has dropped from 27.3 percent with the 2010 cohort to 22.8 percent with the 2013 measure, ranking VADOC as the second lowest in the nation among 38 states that measure recidivism similarly" (p. 69).

Can Corrections Heal? Reducing Recidivism and Increasing Public Safety in Virginia Cover

"Many juvenile justice agencies and facilities express a sincere desire to treat LGBT youths in a fair and respectful way and to promote positive interactions between youths and between youths and staff. At the same time, many agencies are unsure of the appropriate steps to take in addressing this issue. This article provides some broad guidance for agency leadership in this area" (p. 100). Suggestions are made for the following operational concerns: policy development; intake screening; housing; searches and supervision; medical and mental health; staff training; and family services.

Ensuring the Safety of LGBT Youths in the Juvenile Justice System Cover

This is an excellent exploration regarding the impacts of increased length of stay (LOS) on the population of incarcerated individuals and the subsequent recidivism of those offenders. Sections of this article address: drivers of prison, parole, probation, and jail populations; justifications for longer prison terms—general or specific deterrence, and general and selective incapacitation; what the evidence shows; and policy implications. "The science on how much time prisoners should serve from a public safety perspective is very clear. Increasing or decreasing prisoner LOS has no impact on recidivism or crime rates. But it has an extremely dramatic impact on the size of the prison population. Were we to return the LOS that existed in the 1990s and that now exists in many states, the nation’s state prison population would decline by more than 500,000 inmates. It would not impact existing recidivism or crime rates. If we truly want to reduce the nation’s prison populations, we will have to reverse and nullify all of the legislative and agency policies that have served to fuel the historic increases in the nation’s prison population by increasing time served. This means reducing the lengths of imprisonment for all inmates — not just nonviolent offenders" (p. 76).

How Much Time Should Prisoners Serve? Cover

This article explains why mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) can be effective in offender rehabilitation and reduce recidivism. Sections address: the program structure of MBIs in correctional settings in the U.S.; findings from controlled research studies in U.S. prisons; mindfulness as a reoffending reduction strategy resulting in improved "inmate levels of negative affect; substance use and drug-related self-control; anger and hostility; relaxation capacity; and self-esteem and optimism" (p. 50); and integration and rollout issues.

Mindfulness Meditation in American Correctional Facilities: A "What Works" Approach to Reducing Reoffending Cover

Results from an ongoing evaluation project on the effectiveness of offender workforce development (OWD) services are presented. “Drug and alcohol abuse and/or not continuing substance abuse treatment was identified as almost a universal barrier to post-release success” (p. 67). Those individuals that receive OWD services have a recidivism rate 33% lower than the comparison group.

Offender Workforce Development Services Makes an Impact Cover

"Every day, in communities throughout America, correctional officers, sheriff’s deputies and federal marshals must transport inmates from secure facilities to medical clinics and hospitals for treatment. Every transport is a risky venture for corrections officials, medical staff and the public, because the possibility that the inmate may seize an opportunity to escape is ever-present. This article will examine the problems posed and the risks inherent anytime an inmate is removed from the security of a correctional institution and taken to a medical facility where proper security is difficult to maintain" (p. 77). Sections cover: inmate medical needs; medical transportation; the dangers of transporting inmates to medical facilities; general best practices for transporting inmates; medical transportation practices; transporting officer preparedness; collaboration between EMS, hospital personnel, and correctional officers (i.e., security plans, weapons safety, telemedicine, and learning from past experiences); and five recommendations to increase safety during inmate medical transport.

On the Road Again: The Dangers of Transporting Ailing Inmates Cover

If you or your agency wants or needs information about improving or creating and implementing a new reentry program, then attending this virtual conference is a must. “On June 12, 2013, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) will launch its first-ever virtual conference, “Cuff Key to Door Key: A Systems Approach to Reentry.” Topics covered during the conference will include mental health, sentencing, a review of successful reentry programs, Thinking for a Change (T4C), and a look at the challenges of reentry and transforming corrections culture. Edward Latessa, the interim dean and professor at the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services at the University of Cincinnati, will deliver the keynote address” (p. 90). This article explains the reasoning behind the virtual conference, how to view it, and the complexities of successful reentry programming. This article is used with permission from the American Correctional Association. Any further reprinting, altering, copying, transmitting, or use in any way needs written permission from ACA.

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