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Michigan Department of Corrections announces new technology initiative to improve recidivism rate

Wayne County jail cell
Posted at 12:26 PM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-26 12:26:01-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Corrections announced on Thursday a new initiative that will further the state’s efforts to improve record-low recidivism rates through “advancements in outcome-based decision-making.”

MDOC has partnered with California-based Recidiviz to identify, scale and sustain strategies driving successful results for individuals in prison and on supervision, a news release said.

“This partnership builds on the hard work of MDOC staff to power initiatives that provide job and skills training to incarcerated people and those under supervision, keeping them out of prisons and supporting their transition back to society,” MDOC Director Heidi Washington said. “With this new technology, we can improve public safety, better the lives of incarcerated people and their families and enhance economic outcomes in Michigan.”

Recidiviz, a technology nonprofit, uses “modern data infrastructure and thoughtful product design” to help agencies chart their own course toward improving outcomes in criminal justice.

MDOC leadership and staff plan to use the open-source platform to glean specific, timely and actionable insights to promote permanent improvements for those under correctional control.

MDOC will track the impact of changes as they’re rolled out, ensuring recidivism rates remain low without costly additions, the news release said.

“Gov. Whitmer and I have been committed to enacting criminal justice reforms since the day we took office,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said. “As we continue to make progress, it is encouraging to see transformational work taking place within our criminal justice system in Michigan. When we are able to positively impact the lives of incarcerated Michiganders, without endangering public safety, it is setting up everyone within our justice system for productive, future successes.”

Earlier this year, the state announced that its recidivism rate had dropped for the second year in a row and stands at its lowest rate in state history.

The recidivism rate, which measures the percentage of offenders who return to prison within three years of release, is now at 26.6%.

Two years ago, it was at 29.1%.