By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Grant being sought for education to reduce recidivism
Placeholder Image

Could correctional education reduce recidivism and prevent a $6.5 million expansion at Warren County Jail?
The Joint Economic and Community Development Board is considering the pursuit of a Three Star Enhancement Grant aimed at beginning an education program for inmates in hopes of reducing the chances they will reoffend.
JECDB members select a local project each year and apply for a grant toward that endeavor.
“We are looking at another grant for this next year and a project,” said Mayor Jimmy Haley, chairman of JECDB. “We have been trying to identify some possible areas in need of help. As most of you know, our jail has some issues. State funding for some of the programs, such as education, has been cut. Warren County is looking at doubling the size of the jail. The recidivism rate is close to 80 percent. We’ve got one of the highest recidivism rates in the state. That’s why we are having to build a bigger jail. We aren’t investing in people and children. We’re investing in incarceration.”
Any project selected must meet as many of the following five Three Star program objectives as possible: 1) Jobs and Economic Development, 2) Fiscal Strength and Efficient Government, 3) Public Safety, 4) Education and Workforce Development, 5) Health and Welfare.
Haley said offering educational opportunities at the jail would meet most if not all those criteria.
Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander agreed.
“I’d be for it,” he said. “RAND estimates that for every $1 spend on education, states could cut incarceration costs by $5.”
RAND Corporation explores how to reduce reoffending among former convicts in the adult and juvenile justice systems. Their research found that prisoners who receive some form of formal education while incarcerated are 43 percent less likely to reoffend and 13 percent are more likely to obtain employment after their release.
McMinnville-Warren County Chamber of Commerce president Mandy Eller says teaching fiscal responsibility could be a good place to start in the education effort.
“Greene County has an excellent example,” she said. “A lot of their education is soft skills and financial education. They actually have a bank account. They start to earn money and save money while they are in jail so they can pay their fines and also be able to afford to move out of wherever they were living. They have had an extremely successful program and the state has helped them with that.”
JECDB meets quarterly and is comprised of approximately one dozen members. Members have until December to select a project.