Criminal Justice Reform and Efforts to Reduce Recidivism

Full Committee on Oversight and Reform
Full Committee on Oversight and Reform
Hearing Date: June 28, 2017 1:00 pm 2154 Rayburn HOB


  • 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

Name Title Organization Panel Document
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 Director Department of Corrections, South Carolina Panel 2: Experts Document
Pastor Omar Jahwar Founder & CEO Urban Specialists Panel 2: Experts Document
William C. McGahan Chairman Georgia Works! Panel 2: Experts Document
The Honorable Alexander Williams, Jr. Retired United States District Judge District of Maryland Document

Related Documents

Name Document
Chairman Gowdy Opening Statement Document