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Michigan recidivism rates at an all time low

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Michigan announced a new state record this week -- the recidivism rates in the state have dropped to an all time low.

Recidivism rates in Michigan stand at 28.1 percent. Recidivism rates have hovered around 30 percent in recent years, after a sharp drop in 1998 when the rate was 45.7 percent.

State corrections officials said the success comes largely from a recent effort offering vocational training to prisoners.  

Chris Gautz is a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections. He said the vocational programs were a first of their kind in the nation.

“So they receive training in things like commercial truck driving, forklift operation, automotive technology, robotics, welding, CNC machining, plumbing and electrical, concrete masonry, and then they get national and state certifications in those trades”.

Gautz said the goal is to ensure inmates find a job when they’re paroled.

“We’re out working with the business community, recruiting employers to come into the prison to meet with these prisoners and offer them jobs before they’re released. So that way we can have individuals who parole on a Tuesday and start work on a Wednesday”.

Gautz said the state currently operates two men’s vocational prisons, and has plans to open a third for women later this year.