Gov. John Carney this week signedExecutive Order #27, which focuses on improving chances of people released from prison not returning to the corrections system.
The order creates a commission focused on reentry reform, policies, and procedures, with a goal of helping former inmates more successfully reenter their communities.
The order will more effectively coordinate service delivery, strengthen data sharing among agencies, create a comprehensive reentry protocol, improve the availability of academic and vocational programming prior to an inmate’s release, and strive to reduce recidivism in Delaware, a release stated.
Delaware has long been criticized for the lack of services for released prisoners.
The state’s correctionssystem is struggling with a variety of issues that include an inability to fill correctional officer positions. The long-running issue has been on the front burner since a prison riot that led to the death of a corrections officer.
The state now plans to send more than 300 inmates to Pennsylvania prisons under an agreement with the commonwealth.
“It’s our responsibility to look out for every Delawarean. We need to make sure offenders who serve out their sentences are able to reenter society ready to positively contribute to their communities, and have the support they need to succeed,” saidCarney. “This Executive Order will improve our existing reentry procedures, and in turn, reduce recidivism. That will help strengthen communities across our state.”
Executive Order #27 is the result of Delaware’s participation in the National Criminal Justice Reform Project, an initiative led by the National Governors Association and the National Criminal Justice Association Center for Justice Planning to assist states in implementing evidence-based criminal justice reforms.
About 23,000 incarcerated adults are released from the State of Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) facilities annually. Seventy-six percent of those who are released from DOC facilities are rearrested within three years.
Sixty-eight percent of those released had a reconviction and sixty-five percentwent back to prison. Delaware’s percentage of probationers is approximately forty-six percent higher than the national average, and its percentage of incarcerated adults is approximately twelve percent higher than the national average.
The Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission will consist of members of the Governor’s Cabinet, the Chief Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, the Attorney General and others who work closely on this issue, including the Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Council.