State to Reduce Re-Offenders with WSU Spokane Research

By Paige Browning

The state department of corrections is utilizing a professor in Spokane to help reduce recidivism amongst prisoners. The research will match offenders with treatment programs that prove effective.
 
Zachary Hamilton heads the Washington State Institute for Criminal Justice Research, and teaches at WSU Spokane. His agency is working on two assessments for the corrections department. The first is a model in which prisoner’s criminal history and personal history, like vocation and mental health status, are combined to predict if they will reoffend.
 
Hamilton: “You can then provide them treatments and interventions that will hopefully reduce that risk. So those individuals will receive vocational training, they’ll receive their GED, they’ll go through aggression replacement therapy, things of that nature. So by the time they are about ready to re-enter, they’ve reduced their level of risk.”
 
Hamilton’s team is doing a second assessment on the actual treatment programs available in Washington. He’ll report to corrections and the state legislature on which programs are effective, and which shouldn’t receive funding.
 
Hamilton: “It’s going to strengthen the Department of Corrections, it’s going to make a systematic way in which they provide treatment, interventions, and supervision.”
 
Hamilton’s assessment model will be implemented for people on probation, parole, and in prison starting January 2015. He thinks Washington will be the only state with such a comprehensive needs assessment.
 
Copyright 2014 Spokane Public Radio

Additional links:
Institute for Criminal Justice Research projects
News Release from WSU Spokane
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