$749,000 federal grant to help Philly tackle recidivism

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A federal grant is expected to help improve probation services in Philadelphia.

The city will use the $749,000 grant to invest in high-tech tools aimed at preventing those on probation from committing another crime.

Instead of relying on probation officers’ “gut feelings,” they will create checklists and tools to help track  behavior, said Dr. Ellen Kurtz, director of research at the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department.

“For example, if someone has criminal thinking patterns or associates with other criminals … those are criminogenic needs,” she said. “Those are things that can be addressed to prevent recidivism.”

Probation department director Charles Hoyt said the goal is to give offenders another chance.

“We have a risk tool right now. That’s how we supervise them,” he said. “Now we are taking it a step further with the needs and we are going to address the crimogenic needs through the same system.”

Philadelphia has 45,000 probationers.

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