Letter: Impressive program
I just heard David Rhodes, Chief Deputy Sheriff of Yavapai County, speak on a program in the county jail to reduce recidivism (i.e. multiple returns by prisoners). What an impressive program!
The problem of overcrowded prisons and jails was identified by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO), which proposed a multi-layered program to reduce recidivism to Gov. Doug Ducey, who in turn approved a grant for a three-year trial period.
Rhodes, a longtime employee of YCSO, was tasked to design and test a program to work with inmates in the jail. His approach, called Outreach, is to interview new inmates just coming into the jail in Camp Verde with the goal of assisting them in re-entering our community after being released. At the top of the list of possible assistance is finding them a place to live. Inmates who are released from jail but don’t have a place to live have a pretty good chance of landing in jail again and recidivism goes up.
Because of the coalition with other local organizations that has been established, inmates also are connected to local services like counseling, and treatment for medical and mental health issues including drug and alcohol addiction. The program is so successful that recidivism has dropped from more than 50 percent to single digits over the first two years.
What is so amazing is that everybody wins. The inmates are treated humanely and given a chance to once again become productive citizens in our community. The crime rate in our community declines. And we save taxpayer dollars because fewer inmates are in jail and Gov. Ducey doesn’t have to build more facilities. Amazing!