Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Metro picked for jail analysis

By Travis Loller • ASSOCIATED PRESS • November 18, 2009 For the next two years, national consultants will be looking closely at how Davidson County jail inmates fare when they leave confinement and how Nashville's sheriff's office prepares inmates to be released. Eventually, officials hope the pilot project can help them do a better job of providing inmates with services like drug treatment, anger management and job placement that can help keep them from re-offending and eventually make their communities safer. The U.S. Department of Justice's National Institute of Corrections and The Urban Institute Justice Policy Center are sponsoring the pilot project. They began their work in Nashville on Tuesday. Local agencies in California, Michigan and Wisconsin were also selected to participate. Agencies in Colorado and Kansas were selected for the pilot program last year. Davidson draws praise Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said his jail has about 3,200 people behind bars on any given day and releases about 100 a day. The sheer volume of people entering and exiting the system can make intervention difficult, but it also provides a lot of opportunities. Humphries said one goal is to get social service agencies and community nonprofits to do "in-reach" into the jails, something Davidson County has already begun to do. Those agencies can then continue to work with the offenders after they are released. Humphries praised David son County for the work it has already done, calling it "far advanced over most jurisdictions." Jail programs director Paul Mulloy said the sheriff's office looked at recidivism rates in 2007 and found that 64 percent of those who did not receive help had returned to jail within a year while only 36 percent of those who received help re-offended in that period. Since then, he said, the jail has improved its interventions and is redoing its statistical research to see if recidivism rates have also improved.

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