New blueprint hopes to reverse revolving door at Delaware prisons

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whyy.org on 10/21/2021 by Mark Eichmann

Delaware’s prison population has dropped significantly since Gov. John Carney took office in 2018. Back then, there were about 5,500 people being held in prison. Now that number hovers around 4,000, a drop of about 30%.

While happy to see the prison population trending down, Carney isn’t satisfied with the state’s recidivism rate, or how many of those people released from prison wind up back behind bars within a few years.

More than 65% of people released from prison in 2016 were re-convicted within three years, according to the latest numbers available from the state’s Statistical Analysis Center.

That rate is “still extraordinarily high and really unacceptably high,” Carney said.

Two years ago, the PrisonEd Foundation named Delaware one of the worst in the nation for its high rate.

In 2018, Carney signed an executive order to address recidivism as part of Delaware’s participation in the National Criminal Justice Reform Project that helps states launch criminal justice reforms.