Photo: Province of British Columbia
State lawmakers say finding solutions to reducing Indiana’s recidivism rate may take longer than their overhaul of the state’s criminal code.
The overhaul of Indiana’s criminal code is aimed at keeping more low-level offenders out of prison. Lawmakers are also considering ways to reduce recidivism – keeping offenders from returning to prison after they have been released.
Legislators on Thursday heard from several people who work for rehabilitation centers that help ex-convict, including Niles Hall, who has spent time in prison while struggling with drug addiction. He is now working for the same group that helped him recover and is close to getting a college degree.
“I had support from community members. I had support from different recovery-oriented groups,” Hall says. ” had support from family. Eventually I garnered the support of teachers and the peers that I chose to surround myself.”
Hall says he would like to see lawmakers put more money into rehabilitation programs and help ex-offenders relocate when possible, away from the same places and people that were part of the problem before they went to prison.
State Senator Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, says providing those dollars will likely require difficult choices and a shift in priorities.
“We’ll see if we can figure something out but we might not be able to,” he says. “It may take us longer to try to find a solution we can use. It may take us a couple years to do it.”
The overhaul of the criminal code is scheduled to be completed next session.