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Katie Couric's Notebook: Recidivism

Generic Jail Prison Cell
CBS/iStock Image
Given how much states spend on prisons, you would think they'd have proper doors - the kind that open and shut, instead of just revolving.

But that isn't the case. Forty-three percent of prisoners released in 2004 were re-incarcerated within three years, according to a new study by the Pew Center on the States.

States spend a combined $50-billion dollars every year on corrections. If they cut their recidivism rates by 10 percent, the study found, they could save $635 million in just one year.

Some states are already getting the message. Oregon, for instance, used better exit planning and parole management to drop its recidivism rate by 32 percent.

This is an issue where conservatives and liberals are actually finding common ground. Both sides realize that when people get out of prison, it's better for everyone if they never come back.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.