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Recidivism impacting Dougherty Co.

Video from WALB
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 7:57 PM EDT|Updated: May. 19, 2022 at 8:15 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -Albany and Dougherty County Law enforcement announced that they arrest the same people over and over again and it’s a crime problem that has the community concerned and perplexed.

Officials say there has to be a better way to turn people from crime than sticking them behind bars.

According to worldpopulationreview.com, 44% of criminals released return before their first year out of prison.

Also according to the site, factors that contribute to this may include a person’s social environment and community, their circumstances before incarceration, events during their incarceration and lastly difficulty adjusting back to normal life.

Michael Persley, Albany Chief of Police, agrees that this is a pressing issue. He said it is mostly a person’s mindset that determines whether or not they will be a repeat offender.

Hey also said that he believes the city provides plenty of resources, but that it is up to them to use them.

“The Department of Community Supervision has access to a lot of resources here to help them not go back into what they were going in,” Persley said. “Of course, we have Aspire here to help cases of mental health and substance abuse. Those people who are consumers, we have The Change Center. You have the Alpha Pregnancy Center. Of course, you have Albany Tech then you have other faith-based organizations.”

Michael Persley is the Chief of Police with APD. He says the city of Albany provides many...
Michael Persley is the Chief of Police with APD. He says the city of Albany provides many resources for people who are trying to reenter society after being in jail or prison.(WALB)

He said places like Albany Technical College also help people to get their GED among resource centers. He also added that older people should set a better example.

“If mama, daddy, brother, sister, auntie, uncle, grandma, they always going to jail then the generation coming behind them will think ‘Well, maybe that’s the right of passage,’ and it’s not a right of passage,” he said.

Chief Jailer, John Ostrander said the jail does provide resources for individuals and that there are better ways to get them help than just going to jail.

“One of the things that we try to do is to really connect people with those resources,” Ostrander said. “We have a pretrial services unit that works to help our people out of the jail and into treatment programs where they can have a more positive outcome.”

John Ostrander is the Chief Jailer at the Dougherty County Jail. He says he believes the...
John Ostrander is the Chief Jailer at the Dougherty County Jail. He says he believes the community should provide more resources for things like mental health or substance abuse in order to prevent more people from going to jail.(WALB)

He said he believes these services do have a positive effect.

“The people that we have gotten out of jail in our pretrial services unit, we’ve seen that recidivism rate drop as low as 5%. So we know that it works,” he said.

Ostrander said he believes the key drivers of recidivism are mental health and substance abuse and that if communities could provide more resources for these two things, there would less crime and fewer people in jail.

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