By Cate Gable
Recidivism is a $100 word that means relapse into crime. It’s most commonly used to refer to someone who has been in jail, is released, and then commits another crime and finds himself or herself back in jail. In other words, it’s “the tendency of a convicted criminal to re-offend.” But are all “criminals” really criminal, or do they just need some services to support them and help them manage their lives better?
Often individuals who’ve been arrested for a crime are suffering from circumstances that put them sideways with the law. Perhaps they have a mental health issue — bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance use disorders, or they’ve stopped taking their meds; sometimes they’re just down on their luck, out of a job, homeless, and without the resources to be a healthy, functioning member of the community.
It will probably be no surprise to those of you who know the caring and committed individuals in our justice system or working in our various social services that some of these people have “stepped up” to find some different solutions.
Pat Matlock (jail administrator and chief criminal deputy), Katie Lindstrom (deputy director, Pacific County Health Department), Rosanne McPhail (Justice and Mental Health Collaborative Program coordinator), Tessa Clements (Therapeutic Courts coordinator) and Judd Comer, (Criminal Justice Program specialist and jail liaison) have been the primary collaborators implementing a national initiative to combat recidivism called “Stepping Up.”