Gov. John Carney on Dec. 4 signed Executive Order No. 27, which focuses on improving re-entry procedures for incarcerated individuals in Delaware.

The executive order creates a commission focused on re-entry reform, policies and procedures, with a goal of helping former inmates more successfully reenter their communities. The order will more effectively coordinate service delivery, strengthen data sharing among agencies, create a comprehensive re-entry protocol, improve the availability of academic and vocational programming prior to an inmate’s release and strive to reduce recidivism in Delaware.

Executive Order No. 27 is the result of Delaware’s participation in the National Criminal Justice Reform Project, an initiative led by the National Governors Association and the National Criminal Justice Association Center for Justice Planning to assist states in implementing evidence-based criminal justice reforms.

About 23,000 incarcerated adults are released from Delaware Department of Correction facilities annually. Seventy-six percent of those who are released from DOC facilities are re-arrested within three years. Sixty-eight percent of those released had a reconviction and 65 percent had a recommitment. Delaware’s percentage of probationers is about 46 percent higher than the national average, and its percentage of incarcerated adults is approximately 12 percent higher than the national average. Re-entry reforms in Executive Order No. 27 are intended to directly confront Delaware’s high rate of recidivism.

The Delaware Correctional Re-entry Commission will include members of the governor’s cabinet, the chief judge of the Court of Common Pleas, the attorney general and others who work closely on this issue, including the executive director of the Criminal Justice Council. This commission will oversee implementation and further develop the state’s comprehensive strategic re-entry initiatives, ensuring that federal, state and local resources are used efficiently to reduce duplicative re-entry services and align with the application of evidence-based approaches.

This executive order also restructures the DOC Office of Research and Planning to the Office of Planning, Research and Re-entry. This office will oversee the implementation and maintenance of the commission’s initiatives from prison to community corrections centers to probation and parole to the community.