Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says the county jail and Albany Law School have been working together for five years to find out how to keep inmates out of jail.

The program called “New Beginnings” works to prepare inmates for life after release while they are still incarcerated, instead of afterwards.

Right now, Apple says the recidivism rate right in Albany County is between 5 and 10 percent higher than many other places, and this program aims to get inmates whatever they need before they get out. He says there are lots of programs on the state level, but not on a county level to keep people out of jail.

All of this is accomplished using a new program on the tablets inmates have access to. The guide was created by an Albany Law student to help inmates find out their personal barriers to staying out of jail.

Once the inmates have identified what they struggle with — housing, employment, etc. — they’re paired with an Albany Law student who will help them tackle that challenge.