In a message on second chances Sunday at the T.D. Jakes-led Potter’s House in Dallas, Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott praised the work of the church’s Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative for doing a better job of keeping people out of prison than government efforts nationwide.
“You see nationwide on the federal level, the recidivism rate, the percentage of people who get out [of prison] and go back in is 77 percent in five years. Let me say that a little slower. More than three out of four people who get out come back in, in just five years. But T.O.R.I., it tells a different story. T.O.R.I.’s number is 11 percent. Not 30, not 40, not 50, but 11 percent. That’s unheard of,” Scott said in his message that was broadcast on Facebook Live.
The 12-month T.O.R.I., founded by Jakes in 2005, gives returning citizens a second chance at life and provides them with solutions to the many barriers they face upon release from prison.
Statistics from the National Institute of Justice show that within three years of release, about 67.8 percent of released prisoners were rearrested. Within five years of release, the recidivism increases to 76.6 percent. Among rearrested persons, more than half were arrested by the end of their first year out of prison.
For most of the 23,000 graduates of Jake’s T.O.R.I., however, the picture is much more promising.
“Y’all don’t know how special this is. Bishop Jakes, the first lady and the Potter’s House have created a program that has brought the entire state together. To produce results that are the envy of other states. This is a national model. This ain’t playing church this is doing church. And doing church means walking out the doors and letting the people of God, the church, get to work,” Scott said in the presence of the 2019 T.O.R.I. graduates.
“Bishop alluded to this earlier but he didn’t put the meat on the bones when he said, this program, the T.O.R.I. program, reduces recidivism. What he is saying is that there is a way to make our communities safer by doing criminal justice reform,” Scott continued.
“Can you imagine what would happen if we had enough investors, and judges, and sheriffs, and police chiefs, and DAs, and Bishop Jakes all around the country taking the 77 and bringing it to 11 [percent]? That’s how you make the community safer,” Scott said to applause. “And if we do that right, all of God’s people can say amen.”
The First Step Act expands job training and other programming aimed at reducing recidivism rates among federal prisoners. It also expands early-release programs and modifies sentencing laws, including mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, to more equitably punish drug offenders.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair