The most significant criminal justice reform legislation in years was signed into law in February. The First Step Act makes some important changes like reducing sentences for drug convictions, allowing people to earn early release and placing a greater emphasis on vocational and rehabilitation programs.

In my view, this last point is probably the most important change, and it’s happening right here in our community at the Diboll Correctional Center in Diboll, TX. As a society, we need to invest more resources, time and effort to reducing recidivism. Nationally, about half of those released from prison will end up re-offending. This is unacceptable. We have an obligation to provide those in prison with the tools they need to succeed in society.

The Diboll Correctional Center is a great example of an institution that is committed to reducing recidivism. This facility has been an excellent model for rehabilitation and change. I’ve visited the prison and seen firsthand how staff are not only committed to safety and security but to inmate rehabilitation. They use evidence-based programs that have been shown to change the way inmates think and act.

I just want to recognize the staff at this correctional facility for working hard to change people’s lives and keep them from re-offending. That should be the goal of all prisons.