Recidivism is down in Iowa prisons because fewer African-Americans are returning to incarceration.
Corrections Director John Baldwin says recidivism for blacks has steadily decreased over the past 14 years. That’s helped bring recidivism down to record levels overall.
“For the first time in Iowa history it has dropped below 30%,” Baldwin says. “We’re at 29-point-7 percent. 14 years ago we were at 45-percent.”
Baldwin says Iowa is now the only state in the country where recidivism for African-Americans and whites is exactly the same.
Baldwin says in Polk and Blackhawk counties in particular inmates have received job training to increase their chances of success upon release.
“We've worked really hard at trying to make sure we deal with the disproportionate share of African-Americans in prison,” Baldwin says, “so what we work on is to have rehabilitation skills and job skills so when people leave us they don't come back to us.”
Baldwin says it’s especially significant that recidivism is down at the same time paroles are on the rise.