Gov. Bevin, Sec. Tilley Talk Criminal Justice with Safe Streets & Second Chances Leaders
Governor Matt Bevin and Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley today held a news conference with leaders from the national Safe Streets & Second Chances (S3C) project to discuss the initiative and other criminal justice-focused efforts in the Bluegrass State.
Joining Gov. Bevin and Sec. Tilley were Mark Holden, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Koch Industries (S3C Advisory Chairman), John Koufos, National Director of Reentry Initiatives at Right on Crime (S3C Executive Director), and Dr. Carrie Pettus-Davis, Associate Professor at Florida State University (FSU) and Founding Director of the FSU Institute for Justice Research and Development (S3C Principal Researcher).
The Safe Streets & Second Chances project is currently underway in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
Across the four states, Pettus-Davis and her team of independent researchers at FSU are studying roughly 1,560 program participants (230 in Kentucky) who are incarcerated or have recently been released. Half of the group receives standard reentry services while the other half receives the 5-Key Model for Reentry trial that Pettus-Davis helped develop to give returning citizens the tools needed to overcome personal challenges that lead to recidivism.
Researchers are also identifying external barriers that stand in the way of individuals successfully reentering society. For example, many of those who are leaving prison have difficulty obtaining proper housing — a challenge that Koufos and his team have been working to address.
“Kentucky has become a national leader in criminal justice reform, and we are grateful for our partnership with the Safe Streets & Second Chances initiative in advancing this critical pursuit,” said Gov. Bevin. “More than 95 percent of all the individuals currently in our corrections system will eventually return to their communities upon completing their sentences. Innovative research through the S3C program will empower the Commonwealth to implement effective rehabilitation efforts, providing these individuals with the greatest opportunity for success as they reenter society.”
“Data-driven solutions are vital to everything we do in corrections, and our commitment to evidence-based programming has never been stronger.” Secretary Tilley said. “This research will provide unprecedented insights into the factors that help offenders remain law-abiding after prison, and we are honored that Kentucky can partner with Safe Streets & Second Chances to analyze the effectiveness of these strategies. Taxpayers are investing nearly $600 million a year in corrections, and we are committed to providing the best possible results.”
“Since my younger days as a prison guard, I’ve been passionate about creating a smarter criminal justice system that doesn’t trap people in a cycle of incarceration and leave them hopeless once they’re released,” said Holden. “We started Safe Streets and Second Chances because it’s time for our country to rethink its approach to helping people rejoin their communities once they’ve paid their debt to society. We’re honored that both Governor Bevin and Secretary Tilley share our vision and we’re grateful to them for allowing Safe Streets and Second Chances to be in Kentucky.”
“As a returning citizen, myself, I know first-hand the myriad challenges that people face when they leave prison,” said Koufos. “Most inmates are warehoused for years, then given fifty bucks and a bus pass and told to go get jobs and lead productive lives. We can’t expect people to successfully transition from prison to paycheck if they haven’t been rehabilitated in prison and if they don’t have access to basic things like ID once they’re released. Fortunately, people like Governor Bevin and Secretary Tilley understand that our country needs a new approach to reentry. Safe Streets and Second Chances is proud to be in Kentucky and we’re looking forward to innovating new solutions that make people safer and help returning citizens improve their lives.”
“Our research is about identifying how organizations and communities can best support people in reaching their full potential after an incarceration experience, said Pettus-Davis. “Kentucky leaders have demonstrated that they are committed to research driven solutions by welcoming this study to their state. Our research team is examining individualized approaches to reentry and uncovering what works best, for who, and how. We are thrilled that the research findings can have a direct impact on policies and practices, and ultimately the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.”