Blagojevich Administration Reports Drug Treatment Helps Push Illinois Prison Recidivism Rates to Historic Lows

Chicago, IL) — Since fiscal year 2004, Illinois has successfully rolled back recidivism rates from record levels, reduced the rate of new crime among parolees, slowed the prison population growth rate, and saved taxpayers more than $60 million, according to new state statistics.

Governor Rod Blagojevich and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) reported at a press conference in Chicago on May 19 that the number of new convictions for crimes among parolees has decreased by over 18% from 4,567 in FY04 to 3,742 in FY07, the largest decline in state history.

Additionally, Governor Blagojevich and IDOC report:

* Total arrests among parolees experienced a 23% decline from FY04 to FY07.

* Participants in the Sheridan Drug Prison & Reentry program, which has been called a national model, have exhibited a 40% recidivism rate, lower than comparison groups.

* The prison population has increased by only 4.5% since the end of FY02, which is the slowest rate of growth over any similar time frame since the Illinois Department of Corrections was established in FY70.

* Reduction in repeat crimes has saved taxpayers an estimated $64 million in prison costs since 2004.

The figures stand in stark contrasts to Fiscal Years 1989 – 2005 when the state prison population doubled from 22,000 to 44,000, and the recidivism rate increased to nearly 55% — meaning that 55% of all inmates released from prison returned to prison within three years.

“The State of Illinois is leading the nation in its efforts to reduce crime and recidivism.” said Joan Petersilia, Professor Criminology, University of California, Irvine. “This is the type of progress that has required tremendous leadership by Governor Blagojevich and partnerships among both corrections and social service officials.”

“The reduced recidivism of Sheridan parolees testifies to the value of well-funded of drug treatment and the need for continued drug treatment investment,” said IADDA CEO Sara Moscato Howe.

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