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Letter: Suffolk jails try to rehabilitate

An inmate in Suffolk County Jail.

An inmate in Suffolk County Jail. Credit: Michael E. Ach

Newsday's recent news story about the large number of parolees re-incarcerated after serving time in state prisons, "Revolving door at Suffolk jail" [Oct. 11], gives the false impression that a report issued by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision is related to inmates leaving Suffolk County jails. The statistics in the report, which form the basis for the story, relate to the return-to-custody rate for state parolees released from the New York State Department of Correctional Services and are not related to inmates released from Suffolk County's correctional facilities.

The story makes no distinction between the county jails and the state prison system. By confusing the two systems, the reader is left with a perception that we are not addressing the issue of recidivism in Suffolk County's jails, and that's simply false.

We have made important strides in addressing the underlying causes of criminal recidivism through a wide variety of therapeutic, educational and vocational programs at the Suffolk County jails. We have also forged significant relationships with the nonprofit sector to improve inmate re-entry, and my staff and I meet regularly with organizations throughout the county to improve our systems of transitioning inmates from the local jails to the community.

Vincent F. DeMarco, Riverhead

Editor's note: The writer is the Suffolk County sheriff.