Skip to main content
Hearing Hearing Date: June 28, 2017 1:00 pm 2154 Rayburn HOB

Criminal Justice Reform and Efforts to Reduce Recidivism

Criminal Justice Reform and Efforts to Reduce Recidivism
June 28, 2017
1:00 pm
2154 Rayburn HOB
Full Committee on Oversight and Accountability


  • Over 95 percent of the prison population today will be released at some point in the future. 
  • Implementing programs that provide vocational training, drug treatment and community support can ease the transition back into society and reduce the rate of recidivism. 
  • States like South Carolina, Texas and Georgia implemented successful programs that drastically reduced the rate of recidivism. 
  • Efforts made by South Carolina’s Department of Corrections has reduced its recidivism rate to 23.1 percent by offering programs that aid offenders in their return to the community.


  • To examine programs and legislation aimed at rehabilitating offenders, facilitating a successful transition from prison to community, and reducing recidivism.


  • At the end of 2015, 1.53 million prisoners were in state and federal facilities.
  • One in three Americans has a criminal record and the consequences on employment, housing, and voting that come with it.
  • Virtually all federal offenders sentenced to incarceration are released from prison back into society, and at least 95 percent of all prisoners will be released.


Chairman Gowdy (R-SC): “What would you say to the broader public about why it’s still worth pursuing diversion programs, reentry programs, criminal justice reform, despite the fact that we’re going to have episodic failures?”

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY): “What [the general public] doesn’t realize is that [inmates] are not learning a vocation that’s going to be transferrable back into society…We might be doing society a better favor to teach them or to have them do tasks where there are employable skills.”

Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-TN): “Young boys cannot raise themselves . . . this is a national crisis and its the root of our crime problem in my opinion.”

Witnesses and testimonies: The Honorable Tim Scott

Senator, South Carolina

Panel 1: Federally Elected Officials

The Honorable Cory Booker

Senator, New Jersey

Panel 1: Federally Elected Officials

Bryan P. Stirling

Department of Corrections, South Carolina
Panel 2: Experts

Pastor Omar Jahwar

Founder & CEO
Urban Specialists
Panel 2: Experts

William C. McGahan

Georgia Works!
Panel 2: Experts

The Honorable Alexander Williams, Jr.

Retired United States District Judge
District of Maryland


Related Documents
Name Document
Chairman Gowdy Opening Statement Document