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Report shows the rate of recidivism in Pennsylvania prisons has stagnated in the last 15 years


On today’s episode of The Confluence:

Pennsylvania Prison Society says report on stagnant recidivism rates is disappointing, but expected
(0:00 - 7:46)

The State Department of Corrections released its first comprehensive report on recidivism since 2013, and found that the rate of re-arrest or re-incarceration of individuals who have previously been in prison has not improved over the last 15 years.

Approximately two-thirds of re-entrants are re-arrested or return to DOC custody within three years of being released, costing taxpayers $3.1 billion every year.

Kirstin Cornell, the family and community support director for the Pennsylvania Prison Society, explains that parole violations are one of the biggest reasons people are sent back to prison.

“We need to be taking a long, hard look at the number of people who are being recommitted for technical offenses, that they've done something that violates the terms of their probation, whether it's breaking curfew, having a drug test come back positive,” says Cornell. “Is incarceration really the appropriate response there?”

With more than 36,000 people incarcerated in Pennsylvania’s state correctional institutions, recidivism is just one measure to address. The report suggests also assessing “desistance,” or the process by which someone slows the rate of or stops offending over time. A random sample of 100 formerly incarcerated people released in 2004 found 57 committed less serious crimes after prison and 20 did not commit other offenses after their release.

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David Greene’s new podcast asks professional athletes to revisit defining moments
(7:48 - 17:34)

When athletes are in a game, there’s a moment, right before the career-defining shot, throw, pass or block, a critical moment, but in a flash, that moment is over and the game must go on.

A new podcast featuring former NPR Morning Edition host David Greene launched Sept. 6 and asks athletes to revisit those instances. The podcast is called “In the Moment with David Greene.”

The veteran journalist has so far interviewed Tampa Bay Buccaneer wide receiver Chris Godwin, Darren Waller, tight end for the Raiders, and former Arizona Cardinal Larry Fitzgerald, the NFL’s second ranked receiver of all time.

“You just realize that, like so much of life for an athlete can be defined in one moment and a few inches just like that,” says Greene, when recounting Fitzgerald reflecting on a play during the 2009 Super Bowl in which the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated Arizona.

New episodes will be made available in podcast feeds every Tuesday.

A new book examines where people get information after a local paper closes
(17:39 - 22:30)

A new book called “Death of the Daily News” explores what happened in McKeesport after its 131-year-old newspaper closed in 2015. The book is by Andrew Conte, a veteran journalist who now heads Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation.

90.5 WESA’s Bill O’Driscoll asked Conte what losing the paper cost the Mon Valley city.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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