Governor Bill Ritter today introduced a package of reforms (pdf) to reduce offender recidivism.

Pursuant to the Colorado Promise, the goal of this package is to invest in programs which protect public safety while allowing appropriate diversion and which provide for a successful transition from the Department of Corrections (DOC) in order to decrease the more than 40 percent recidivism rate. Recidivism is related to a number of factors, including but not limited to: history of violence and propensity, education, vocational and financial achievement, employability, and housing.

Not surprisingly, the plan is going to cost some money. It’s an investment and in my opinion, money well spent.

Governor Ritter’s Recidivism and Diversion package requests FY 2007-08 funding of $2,207,246 General Fund for diversion programs, $858,438 General Fund for transition programs, $3,094,267 General Fund for treatment programs for high-risk offender populations, $1,257,218 net General Fund for DYC programs, and $589,470 General Fund for program performance and for research and evaluation. This package provides $6,159,951 to serve 740 offenders who are mentally ill and or who have substance abuse addictions.

One program is called CUSP.

This program would target offenders on the verge of incarceration or re-incarceration; create individualized supervision and treatment options for offenders with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. The program would build community-based options for methamphetamine abuse supervision failure and would apply evidence-based or best practice supervision/treatment.

STIRRT, an existing program, would be expanded.

The STIRRT program incorporates a 2 week residential stay with an outpatient, after-care treatment component and is designed to reduced recidivism among adult offenders (18 and over) who have been unsuccessful in community treatment for drug and alcohol abuse and continue to commit offenses.

It’s about time we had a Governor who was smart, not just tough, on crime. [hat tip to Think Outside the Cage.]