NY Says Lower Crime Rate by Ex-Offenders

ALBANY (AP) -

Fewer than 10 percent of released state inmates are returning to New York prisons for new felonies, the lowest since authorities began monitoring in 1985, according to the latest data from corrections officials.

However, overall prison returns are continuing at about 40 percent, mainly for repeat violations of parole conditions that can include required drug programs, curfews and meetings. Most were back within 18 months.

“Watching the constant decline of ex-offenders returning to prison for new crimes is a win for all New Yorkers,” said Mary Kavaney, assistant deputy secretary for public safety.

Programs aimed at smoothing prisoners’ return to communities and parole monitoring helped push the rate for ex-inmates back within three years for new felonies from 19 percent in 1985 to NINE percent among those released in 2010.

The state currently has about 52,250 inmates convicted of felonies, down from the historic high of 71,538 in 1999. The decline accompanied amendments to tough Rockefeller-era drug sentencing laws and a roughly 20 percent drop in violent crimes and serious property crimes statewide over the past 15 years.