INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Department of Correction premiered a new video Tuesday about cutting crime, reducing the costs of incarceration, helping ex-offenders avoid returning to prison and the hope of safer communities.
The video was produced by Mayor Greg Ballard’s office and the Office of Offender Re-entry. The video is one of the first things that inmates will see when they go into prison and one of the last things they will see before they leave.
Officials say the prisons in Indiana are full. Nearly 30,000 inmates languish behind bars, but the male population has one thing in common, they will all pass through Plainfield's Reception Diagnostic Center.
There, in the first days of incarceration, they will see a video that will hopefully plant the seeds of change for when they get out.
"This video is going to tell them some objectives while incarcerated and ideas of where they need to get with our service providers," Dr. Willie Jenkins, director of the offender re-entry program, said.
More than 5,000 inmates released from prison each year will return to the streets of Indianapolis. They will be without jobs, without skills and without education.
Some will be without families and a support system to help them succeed on the outside. Many will lack even the most basic technical skills demanded in a modern world.
“I don't know how to text, email or use one of the new phones," one inmate said.
According to the IDOC, of the nearly 5,000 inmates who are released annually back to Marion County, nearly half will re-offend -- 44 percent on new criminal charges and 31 percent for probation and parole violations.
For those on their way home, the video re-enforces the notion that there is help and that the city's Office of Offender Re-Entry has a list of nearly 100 service providers that can address their specific needs.
"They need to be thinking about something they can do to enhance their lives, transform their thoughts about going to resources that are out there," Jenkins said.
Jenkins said inmates who do not get help within the first 21 days of their freedom will more than likely return to prison.
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