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Summit Aims To Reduce Prisoner Re-Entry

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(WLNS) - More than 200 correction officers, law enforcement officials, attorneys and supporters gathered in Lansing for a summit that aims to reduce prisoner re-entry.

As 6 News Shelby Miller explains, it's an alarming problem that not only continues crime, but costs the state.

"Traditionally we've had the philosophy of nail them and jail them."

Commit a crime and serve your time, but what happens when people leave prison and return to our streets?

“Hopefully they'll learn something from their punishment and go back out into society as better people, that's not the case,” said Major Sam Davis, Corrections, Ingham County Sheriff’s Department.

Nationally more than two thirds of state prisoners get re-arrested within three years of their release and half of those people end up back in prison. Michigan's statistics are lower than the national average, but US officials still want to improve that number.

"When people don't become productive members of society after prison and they go back through, that's a cost on society, instead of adding back to it,” said Patrick Miles Jr., United States Attorney, Western District of Michigan.

An added cost of crime and cash, on average it costs $30,000 per year to imprison someone.

When prison's punishments fail to change criminals it not only means more corruption, but more victims, broken families and burdens on local law enforcement.

US attorneys Barbara McQuade and Patrick Miles want to make re-entries more successful by improving criminals’ employment opportunities, education and mental health.

“There's an old adage that nothing stops a bullet like a job, when people are idle and don't have anything to do, that's when they get into trouble,” said Barbara McQuade, United States Attorney, Eastern District of Michigan.

McQuade hopes Tuesday’s summit motivates officials to invest in prevention to help make past prisoners future productive citizens in our community.
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