Group wants to cut number of criminals returning to jail

Associated PressMay 21, 2012 

KENAI -- A new coalition is focusing on ways to reduce the number of repeat criminal offenders in state facilities.

The Peninsula Clarion says the group met last week to discuss a variety of topics including safe housing, employment and education for the Kenai Peninsula. Carmen Gutierrez, deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Corrections, was on hand. She says prisoner rehabilitation is beyond the agency's mission as defined by the state, and therefore collaboration with communities is needed.

Gutierrez says many offenders are re-incarcerated when their probation is revoked. She said the reason is often because of substance use and abuse. She says two out of three offenders come back within six years. Half come back within six months. One of the reasons, she says, is lack of community support.

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