ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona corrections department to reorganize former inmate reentry programs

Apr 14, 2016, 5:00 AM | Updated: 11:55 am

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PHOENIX — A new division of the Arizona Department of Corrections will reorganize several programs and services to help former inmates reenter society.

The Division of Inmate Programs and Reentry will now be in charge of programs like Arizona Correctional Industries, Education, Counseling and Treatment Services, Religion, Reentry Planning and Community Corrections.

“The whole goal of that is to have the services together under one division, so that we can maximize the use of the resources we have and give inmates the tools and the opportunities to change,” said Division Director Karen Hellman.

Hellman said the division will ultimately aim to reduce the recidivism rate, which is determined by the amount of former inmates who return to the prison system.

The vast majority of inmates committed to corrections will return to the communities of Arizona upon their release, according to ADC. In 2015, the department released 19,773 inmates, most who served less than two years in custody.

“We’ll be better able to track the completion of programs and to get the right inmate, into the right program at the right time,” said Hellman, who has experience within ADC managing addiction, drug and alcohol treatment, sex offender treatment, and reentry programming.

By having Community Corrections under the same bureau with the programs that are inside the institution, inmates will help make each inmate’s programs and services more efficient, she said.

“That will facilitate a much better handoff in communication between our correctional officers inside who are working with the inmates,” she said, “And the community corrections officers in the community who are working with the inmates, so that there aren’t gaps in service.”

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Arizona corrections department to reorganize former inmate reentry programs