Kamala Harris, Jackie Lacey Unveil Initiative To Curb Inmate Recidivism

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris was joined Wednesday by Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey and other law enforcement leaders from across Southern California and the state to unveil a new initiative aimed at curbing recidivism.

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports the initiative bolsters programs to keep people who go to prison from returning there, including specific groups, like the mentally ill, veterans who suffer from PTSD and people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Lacey and other district attorneys statewide will work with Harris as part of the state Department of Justice’s new Division of Recidivism Reduction and Re-Entry to track repeat offenders and identify trends that can be used to develop programs that will keep people out of police custody.

The new state division will use technology such as the California SmartJustice system to analyze offender populations and risk factors, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

“If we can get them the counseling services they need, get them the help they need, the reentry programs are really the key to curbing recidivism,” Lacey said. “So in L.A. County, we’re seeking to expand the ones we’re already using.”

Over a two-year period, the Back on Track program — which was created by Harris when she was district attorney in San Francisco – reduced participants’ recidivism rate to less than 10 percent, according to Harris.

An estimated 63 percent of all California inmates who are released from prison end up going right back in, according to the most recent state data.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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