Friday, June 21, 2013
Matos: We Don't Need No Steenkin' Jail
Director of Corrections Arnie Matos did not exactly say that Northampton County needs no jail. But he did point out that, contrary to the trend elsewhere in Pa., the County's jail population is decreasing. It's dropped from 920 to 736, despite all the predictions from experts in three-piece suits. Matos also pointed out that recidivism (criminal behavior by an offender who has already been jailed once) has dropped from 69% to 36.5%.
Since 66 cents of every County tax dollar pays for the back end of crime, this has a dramatic impact on your tax bill.
In my opinion, the corrections officers who helped make this possible should be rewarded for this outstanding turnaround in their newest contract.
In response to questioning from member Lamont McClure, Matos acknowledged that the recidivism rate is only based on re-offenses within the County, although a computer project is under way to make the data from other counties available.
Matos believes the drop in recidivism is a direct result of the treatment approach provided by Community Education Centers. Its contract was extended at last night's meeting, as a program for female offenders is under way.
Member Ken Kraft, who attends Prison Advisory Board meetings, also pointed to a recent program in which high school diplomas are awarded to inmates. Some Easton and at least one Liberty High School diploma were handed out this year. Kraft stated that the recidivism there is even lower, and a lot cheaper.
"Something we're doing in Northampton County is working," noted Matos.
I think it's the bagpipe.