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OTS Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the recidivism rates for offenders leaving state prison in New Jersey?
A. The State of New Jersey continues to experience a downward trend in all three of the categories of recidivism. Utilizing the most recent 2009 released cohort, followed for 3 years post release:
53.1% of the cohort was rearrested, this is a 1.85% decrease from the previous cohort
38.8% of the cohort was reconvicted, this is a 7.14% decrease from the previous cohort
32.4% of the cohort was reincarcerated, this is a 8.57% decrease from the previous cohort
Approximately 67% of adult offenders did not return to prison within the 3 year analysis of this report.
Q. What communities are most effected by returning prisoners in New Jersey?
A. The vast majority (95 percent) of those released from a New Jersey prison will return to communities in New Jersey. Almost two-third (65 percent) will return to 7 counties in the state, Essex (14%), Camden (11%), Atlantic (8%), Hudson (8%), Middlesex (8%), Passaic (7%) and Union (9%).
Q. What are some of the barriers facing returning offenders?
A. Barriers facing offenders during their reintegration back into society range from restricted access to affordable housing, limited employment opportunities, driving privileges and the social stigma of being an "ex-con."
Q. What is the New Jersey Department of Corrections doing to prepare offenders for their release from prison?

A. The New Jersey Department of Corrections has long believed that providing comprehensive rehabilitative programming to prisoners increases the likelihood of prisoners' successful return to the community. The department has written policies to ensure that all inmates are given an initial assessment, are reviewed every year for their appropriate level of custody, and that all inmates leave custody with a discharge plan. During the intake process, inmates are assessed and referred to programs that meet their individual needs. Each inmate also completes a drug and alcohol assessment, undergoes a complete physical examination and mental examination ,and is assessed for their educational level with the Test of Adult Basic Education test. In every facility, inmates are afforded the opportunity to attend anger management, educational and vocational training program, parenting classes, narcotics anonymous and alcoholics anonymous, cognitive behavioral therapy and a restorative justice program that focuses on victim empathy.

During the release, process linkages are created to community-based services such as Social Security, the Veterans Affairs, the faith-based community, the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Department of Labor One Stop Centers, Federally Qualified Health Centers and others. They work with inmates to obtain their identification, apply for SSI, address detainers, etc.

The department has an agreement with the Social Security Administration for ensuring those inmates who meet the criteria obtain duplicate social security number cards before they leave prison. Every inmate is also given a picture ID good for 30 days and for those who need medications, the department releases them with a two-week supply and a 30-day prescription to be filled in the community. Transportation is also available at reduced rates through the New Jersey Transit Authority.

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