Gov. Bevin touts research aimed at long-term prison reform

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) -- Researchers with Safe Streets and Second Chances (S3C) say after eight months of tracking Kentucky prisoners they know what it takes to keep people from ending up back behind bars.

Principal researcher Carrie Pettus-Davis says S3C focuses on researching factors like healthy thinking patterns, effective coping mechanisms and positive relationships among former prisoners. Governor Matt Bevin said Tuesday that he believes this research will help inmates get out and stay out.

"We are tracking what's happening with these folks, along with those that are receiving traditional services. So we want to know, is this really going to have the effect that we think it will? And we're quite confident that it will,” Bevin said.

Even after this initial bout of research, officials say they will continue to reenergize their research in hopes of helping more people. Gov. Bevin said that a declining prison population in Kentucky is evidence of the research’s influence.

"The idea of just a couple of percent of lower recidivism may not sound like much, but when you think about the fact that it has been trending upward, not only in this state, but in America for a very long time…when you see a leveling off and or a decline, you know you're on the front end of something spectacular,” Bevin said.

S3C is currently conducting research in Kentucky, Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida, with hopes of expanding to more states soon.