By Matt Bittle
More than 15,000 people are released from Delaware correctional facilities every year, and many of those are forced to fend for themselves after they’re out of custody, advocates say.
While they may want to start their lives over and make an honest living, many lack some of the things most Delawareans take for granted, like a photo identification, a savings account or even a basic set of skills that make them employable.
Some inmates are simply unprepared for life on the outside, especially those who have spent years in jail.
Either way, they often feel forced to turn back to crime and end up in prison once again — something Delaware is desperately hoping to change.
The state announced Tuesday it has been awarded two federal grants totaling $1.5 million, which it will use to expand prison re-entry programs. Gov. John Carney and correction officials pledged to use the funding to implement new programs and expand others with the goal of reducing recidivism.
Among the initiatives will be providing limited financial assistance for individuals on probation, giving inmates job know-how and broadening treatment initiatives.
Recidivism has long been an issue for the First State: According to data from the Statistical Analysis Center, about 70 percent of inmates released from a Delaware prison from 2008 to 2014 were reconvicted within three years.
The state also has a greater share of probationers and incarcerated adults than the nation as a whole, per the governor’s office.