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Recidivism rate for Franklin Co. prisoners lower than national average

Study found that 18.2 percent of Day Reporting Center clients were rearrested

January 06, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The percentage of Franklin County, Pa., prisoners released and rearrested within three years is markedly less than the national average, county criminal justice officials said Thursday.

Kim Eaton, director of the Franklin County Day Reporting Center, shared statistics about her center and the adult probation department with the county commissioners at their morning meeting.

The information was gathered as part of a study conducted through Shippensburg (Pa.) University and a Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency grant.

The Franklin County Day Reporting Center allows non-violent offenders to be released from the county jail early if they regularly check in at the center and participate in therapies including those regarding behavioral health.

In the study period of December 2006 to June 2009, 18.2 percent of DRC clients were rearrested, Eaton said. That compares with 47.8 percent of the county's traditional adult probation offenders, she said.

Nationwide data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates a 67.5 percent recidivism rate for a three-year period, Eaton said. That data comes from state prisons, she said.

Funding programs at the DRC costs less than half the amount spent on an inmate each day, county officials said.

Commissioner Robert Ziobrowski asked for periodic updates about recidivism rates for the DRC.

"I'd like to see what the long-term effects are," he said.

County officials said the DRC opened in 2006 in an effort to reduce jail overcrowding, costs and criminal activity.

Commissioner Bob Thomas said the DRC provides criminal offenders with necessary skills for success, including job training.

"You can change lives. You can change them," he said.

Franklin County Jail Warden John Wetzel credited the late John "Jack" Nelson, former district attorney, with driving development of the DRC. He said reducing the jail population allows him to rent beds to other counties and the U.S. Marshal's Service.

"It's not a get-out-of-jail-free card," Wetzel said of the DRC. "It increases the amount of supervision and the amount of accountability."

"We are pleased this study validates our efforts to reduce criminal behavior, enhance public safety and cut costs," said David Keller, chairman of the commissioners.

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Day Reporting Center fact check

National

  • Among nearly 300,000 prisoners released in 15 states in 1994, 67.5 percent were rearrested within three years.
  • Among prisoners released in 1994, 46.9 percent were reconvicted within three years.


Franklin County

  • By opening the Day Reporting Center in 2006, the new county jail was built at a savings of $9.6 million.
  • The Day Reporting Center incorporates cognitive-behavioral therapies that are not available anywhere else in the county.
  • At a cost of less than $29 per day, the DRC costs less than half the daily rate at the jail.
  • The average daily population in the jail was 376 in 2005. In 2010, it was only 328.5.  
  • The jail generated income of $970,285.00 in 2010, by selling bed space to outside entities.  
  • Source for national statistics: Recidivism of Prisoners from Langan, P.A., & Levin, D. J. (2002). Retrieved on Dec. 21, 2010, from http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=
  • Source for Franklin County stats: Franklin County government.
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