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Pew Study Finds Low Recidivism Rate In Oregon Prisons

OPB | April 12, 2011 11 p.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:05 a.m. | Portland, OR

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The Pew Center on the States has released a study suggesting Oregon has made significant strides discouraging criminals from re-offending.

The numbers show Oregon with the lowest reported recidivism rate among 41 states surveyed.

The Pew study’s director, Adam Gelb, says Oregon’s corrections history holds many lessons. The state legislature passed a law in 2003 requiring corrections programs to manage offenders in ways  proven to work.

Adam Gelb: “A lot of the states that did make progress in the past decade on recidivism rates have done so by figuring out better, more effective, less expensive ways to hold violators accountable for breaking the rules without throwing them back into $29,000-a-year, taxpayer funded prison cells.”

In some cases, Gelb says, that means diverting offenders to community corrections programs instead of state prisons.

In others, it means training offenders in decision-making and thinking skills, instead of just sending them through drug treatment programs that may or may not stick.

Between 2004 and 2007, Oregon’s recidivsm rate dropped 22.8 percent.

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