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Justice Department gives Baltimore Police $750,000 grant to fight recidivism

The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded the Baltimore Police Department a $750,000 grant to "improve supervision strategies that will reduce recidivism rates," it announced Thursday.

The grant will go to the police department's Community Collaboration Division, which has an existing Reentry Program — allowing it to "improve the capacity and effectiveness of community supervision agencies to increase parole and probation success rates and reduce the number of crimes committed by those under supervision, which would in turn reduce admissions to prisons and jails and save taxpayer dollars," the Justice Department said.

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The new "Smart Supervision Program" will increase collaboration between various stakeholders, including "probation, parole, pretrial, law enforcement, treatment, reentry, and related community corrections fields," the Justice Department said. It will also seek to "develop and implement strategies for the identification, supervision, and treatment of 'high-risk/high-needs' supervisees.'"

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said in a statement that he was "excited" by the grant.

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"We have an obligation to focus on those rejoining our community to ensure resources are in place and available in order to put people on the right path for success."

Joseph Clocker, the state corrections department's director or parole and probation, said in a statement that the grant would help build on his office's already close relationship with the police department.

The Baltimore Police Department was one of seven agencies awarded such grants, the Justice Department said.

The police department is currently under a court-enforced consent decree with the Justice Department that mandates sweeping reforms. The deal was struck after a Justice Department investigation into the police department found widespread unconstitutional and discriminatory policing, particularly in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods.

A corrections spokesman said the most recent recidivism rate the agency has is for all of Maryland, from 2013, which found that 40.5 percent of individuals released from prison in 2009 had returned by 2012.

Gerard Shields, the spokesman, said the department is close to issuing new data. Sixty percent of inmates in Maryland are from Baltimore, Shields said.

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