District Attorney’s Association Supports $5M Funding Request for Recidivism Reduction Programs

Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe

BARNSTABLE – The Massachusetts District Attorney’s Association is supporting a $5 million budget request from Community Resources for Justice which works to reduce recidivism.

According to data published in The Sentencing Project, the incarceration rate in Massachusetts is 179 per 100,000 residents, which ranks 49th lowest out of the 50 states and is less than half of the national average.

A recent incarceration study by the Council of Governments shows Massachusetts does face a challenge with individuals returning to jail.

Community Resources for Justice provides community-based residential re-entry programs designed to decrease recidivism.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said releasing people from jail without any post-release supervision is a recipe for them to get into trouble again.

“The way to do that is to provide some services on the back end of the system so that people don’t go back into the circumstance, once they are released from prison, that led them to commit crime in the first place,” O’Keefe said.

The association voted unanimously to support the state budget request.

“There has to be a place to live. There has to be some help in getting the particular individual who is released in position to secure a job,” O’Keefe said. “There has to be ongoing substance abuse counseling.”

O’Keefe said the goal is get these individuals to a different place and associate with people who are different from the people they were associating with before they were incarcerated.

The Cape and Islands District Attorney added that the most important thing for someone getting out of jail is to find a job.

“There is an old saying – the idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” O’Keefe said. “If people are occupied and they are earning a pay check and paying taxes then we as a society are a lot better off than if they are doing nothing and thinking of other ways to get the resources they need to live.”

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