Performance trends

Note that the method of calculating the percentage of inmate involvement changed for FY14 and may reflect a 5% higher participation level due to the methodology.

Why is this measure important?

  • Programming while incarcerated in the State of Maryland can result in the inmate receiving diminution credits from his/her sentence. That reduces the actual days incarcerated benefiting both the inmate and the taxpayer by a reduction in prisoner days.
  • Data and results driven programming has been shown to significantly reduce recidivism, and institutional violence while creating reentry focused returning citizens.
  • 94% of those incarcerated in Montgomery County will return to the streets of our community. Programmatic engagement is an essential investment in public safety.

Factors contributing to current performance

  • Evidence-based practice in Corrections documents that offender-related programs (e.g. education, workforce development, faith-based, self-growth and development, cognitive learning, and broad-based cultural, art and volunteer efforts) generate significantly safer correctional environments by providing meaningful and structured activities to keep offenders occupied and focused on diminished violence and moderated gang involvement.
  • Programs that support reentry employment are critical to the majority of the offender population. Obtaining lawful and sustainable employment is a critical component to breaking the offender recidivism cycle. Programs in the Correctional Facility Job Shop and the pre-employment job search activity provided in the American Job Center (formerly the One Stop Employment Center) provide needed skills to enhance the probability of post release employment success and life beyond the walls of incarceration.

Factors restricting performance improvement

  • Mandatory budget reductions imposed on all departments has incrementally diminished DOCR's ability to grow certain programs that show evidence based promise.
  • Some programs such as professional adult literacy and electronic/digital learning require paid instructors and are difficult to sustain utilizing volunteer instructors.
  • The population acuity (mental health and behavioral disorders) has greatly increased within the confined population. This presents a much more difficult population to engage in both therapeutic and educational programs. The consistency of programming will be affected.

Performance improvement plan

  • DOCR has expanded its collaboration with Montgomery College as a key resource in educational program development and reentry resources.
  • The Bridges to College Program is providing access to post secondary education which has been shown to be a key educational factor in reducing recidivism.
  • Utilize the PEW Results First Report to guide further program engagement.