Michigan DOC Teams with Tech Nonprofit to Lower Recidivism

By CN Staff

LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), has announced a new initiative that will further Michigan’s efforts to improve record-low recidivism rates through advancements in outcome-based decision-making. MDOC has partnered with California-based Recidiviz to identify, scale, and sustain strategies driving successful results for individuals in prison and on supervision.

Recidiviz, a technology nonprofit, uses modern data infrastructure and thoughtful product design to empower agencies to chart their own course toward improving outcomes in criminal justice. MDOC leadership and staff will use its open-source platform to glean specific, timely, and actionable insights to promote permanent improvements for those under correctional control. MDOC will track the impact of changes as they’re rolled out, ensuring recidivism rates remain low without costly additions, leveraging recent advances in cloud computing technology.

“This partnership builds on the hard work of MDOC staff to power initiatives that provide job and skills training to incarcerated people and those under supervision, keeping them out of prisons and supporting their transition back to society,” MDOC Director Heidi Washington remarked. “With this new technology, we can improve public safety, better the lives of incarcerated people and their families, and enhance economic outcomes in Michigan.”

Earlier this year it was announced that Michigan’s recidivism rate had dropped for the second year in a row and continues to stand at its lowest rate in state history. The recidivism rate, which measures the percentage of offenders who return to prison within three years of release, is now at 26.6 percent. Two years ago, it was at 29.1 percent. This continues to place Michigan’s rate among the best in the country.

In an effort to find new and better ways to continue focus on reducing the recidivism rate, in the coming months, MDOC will work directly with Recidiviz to assess the current drivers of supervision and incarceration in Michigan, and monitor changes to enhance operational capabilities around criminal justice reform. These advancements will help Michigan reduce rates of recidivism and bolster economic improvements for not only justice-involved individuals, but their families and communities as well. This partnership builds on previous innovative efforts to reform Michigan’s corrections system, including the recent Justice Reinvestment effort.

“Governor Whitmer and I have been committed to enacting criminal justice reforms since the day we took office. As we continue to make progress, it is encouraging to see transformational work taking place within our criminal justice system in Michigan,” commented Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “When we are able to positively impact the lives of incarcerated Michiganders, without endangering public safety, it is setting up everyone within our justice system for productive, future successes.”