John Wetzel, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, is responsible for the state prison system, from inmates, to employees, to a budget of nearly $2 billion. And he's trying to take a holistic approach to the corrections system.
With more than 20 years of experience in the corrections industry, he's part of a sentencing commission that's developing tools to help trial judges better assess the risks and needs of offenders.
He says the key to that assessment is looking at the root causes of crime.
"Based on the number of prior arrests, the age of the offender, based on a bunch of other factors, we can predict the likelihood that the individual will commit another crime."
By looking at these "criminogenic needs," or needs that lead to crime, and by using cognitive therapy and other programming, Wetzel says offenders can learn to make better decisions, think differently and reduce their likelihood to commit future crimes.