Reducing Recidivism with Recovery

How One Jail is Shifting the Focus

Jail overcrowding is a problem faced by law enforcement across the nation.  This has led to a public outcry for criminal justice reform.  Without question, most people agree that criminal justice reform should happen – the problem remains how to effectively do it.  One solution takes a new look at the problem.  What if jails focused on reducing recidivism instead of simply punishing a person.  What happens when you shift the focus of jail to helping inmates stay out of trouble in the future, give them lifelong skills and help them end the cycle?

One Sarasota jail is tackling the problem head-on with their “pod” program.  In an effort to reduce jail overcrowding the Sarasota County jail is offering inmates the option to participate in addiction recovery, parenting classes, job search assistance, classes on finances and credit scores.  The jail is completely rethinking how to reduce overcrowding by truly devoting itself to correcting behavior instead of simply punishing the individual.  The goal according to ABC 7 My Sun Coast reporting is to give people the skills to stay out of jail.

Currently, there are two pod programs.  The re-entry pod helps inmates prepare for life outside of jail and re-enter their communities with real skills.  The newly introduced CARE pod focuses on addressing inmate’s mental health issues that may have led to their incarceration.  The program is manned by volunteers at no-cost to taxpayers.

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