Prison system reports promising results in recidivism effort

Written by The Associated Press | Aug 22, 2017 11:19 AM

In this Tuesday, April 13, 2010 photo, a solitary corrections officer looks out from a tower at one corner of the state prison in Camp Hill, Pa. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania prison officials say a pilot program designed to lower the re-arrest rate for nonviolent drug offenders is showing promise in its second year.

The Corrections Department said Tuesday the program known as SIP-HOPE is cutting recidivism by 13 percent, and participants are spending fewer days behind bars.

The program was developed with researchers at Drexel University, and put it in place at two halfway houses.

It uses a method called "swift, certain and fair supervision," a 24-month program that incorporates inpatient and outpatient drug treatment along with clear rules and the use of breathalyzers every time the offenders enter the halfway houses.

They're also subject to random drug testing. First time violators get 24 hours in prison, followed by more prison time and potential expulsion from the program.

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