The Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast with David Onek

Patricia Caruso Interview Highlights

Caruso on the Culture Change in How Wardens See Their Role:
“I looked at my job [as a warden] as everyone goes home safely everyday. Keep the lid on the joint.  That’s pretty important stuff when you’re a warden. But I never thought of my job as being something beyond that and being invested in whether these men got out and stayed out. I will tell you today that all wardens look at that as part of their job. So a huge culture change had to be undertaken to look at our role in this continuum of the criminal justice spectrum and figure out that we had a much larger role to play.”

Caruso on “Justice Reinvestment”:
“As we started changing our culture and as we started doing things differently, we recognized that our incarcerated population would start to decline.  And we made a decision that as that happened we would reinvest one third of the money into resources that would help support the effort of keeping that population down and continuing to go down… So reinvestment for us meant partnering with community organizations and businesses all around the state with the end result being safer communities.”

Caruso on Reducing Recidivism:
“When we started this, we were looking at one in two persons who got out of prisons were coming back. And we’re now at about one in three and that number is actually improving as time goes along, and as we identify more and better resources and are able to target more resources appropriately to individuals.”

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