Former Rhode Island Inmates Get Fresh Start Through 9 Yards Program--Projo Article, August 10, 2016

Press Release: 9 Yards Program Cuts Crime by 40%, Congratulates Graduates

Link to Recidivism Evaluation

The best response to crime is to stop it before it starts, which is exactly what the 9 Yards program is doing. The project, operated by OpenDoors, estimates it cut felonies by 40% and time in prison by 31%, while saving the state money in prison costs.  The report was released August 9th at the program graduation, where the participants were congratulated for the progress they have made as they turn their lives around after long prison sentences.

The Director of OpenDoors, Solangel Rodriguez, said, “We knew that if we could actually provide the large amount of support necessary to help people overcome the many obstacles they face after prison, we could have a real impact on the revolving door. And it looks like it is working.” The graduation will be on Tuesday, August 9th at 4:30 at the Sheraton Hotel in Warwick.  The U.S Attorney Peter F. Neronha will be the keynote speaker at the event.

9 Yards started in 2013 with funding from the Governor’s Workforce Board and support from the Department of Corrections and the Parole Board, as an attempt to combat high crime rates and low employment rates amongst those returning home after prison. According to national statistics put out by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, close to 75% of those leaving prison recidivate within five years. The 9 Yards program provides a minimum of one year of comprehensive support, including education and vocational training to participants while in prison and then supportive housing and employment placement after release.

Jesse Andrews was serving a five year sentence for burglary upon joining 9 Yards.  Jesse had struggled with addiction for almost two decades, and been in and out of prison 19 times during that period. Now, Jesse has been drug-free and employed for over a year, and states, “Joining 9 Yards was probably the best choice I’ve ever made. Without this program who knows where I’d be now.”

At the graduation, OpenDoors is also releasing its first recidivism evaluation, which states: “Although the sample size is too small to say with statistical certainty, the eighteen month recidivism data suggests that 9 Yards resulted in a reduction in criminal activity, time in prison, and prison spending.”

The report compared the outcomes for the people that were randomly selected for 9 Yards versus those not selected, looking at whether or not they were resentenced to prison for the time period up to eighteen months after release. Rebecca Goldstein, who studies prisoner reentry programs at Harvard University as part of her work as a PhD student, independently verified the recidivism results, and commented, “The study's design as a randomized trial means that we can be confident that differences between the treatment and control groups are not due to demographic or other differences between the groups but rather to the program effect itself. Although the sample size was small, the results are encouraging.”

 

 

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