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Country records about criminal recidivism rates

Country records about criminal recidivism rates



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I find myself doing a work on criminal psychology, I understood that recidivism rates were registered by government agencies although it seems not to be that way (some projects were famous in the past but I do not think they developed). If any of those projects were developed, I would be grateful for information on the subject.

On the other hand, if someone on the site knows the most famous articles or works developed on the subject, I would be grateful if you could indicate references to me, since I may not be handling those documents due to the publication dates.


Seena Fazel and Achim Wolf published an article titled A Systematic Review of Criminal Recidivism Rates Worldwide: Current Difficulties and Recommendations for Best Practice (Fazel & Wolf, 2015) and the article concluded that

Recidivism data are currently not valid for international comparisons. Justice Departments should consider using the reporting guidelines developed in this paper to report their data.

The references section of this article also lists articles, reports and statistics available including an article on "the prediction of criminal and violent recidivism among mentally disordered offenders".

UK Statistics

The Ministry of Justice (part of the UK Government), produces regular statistical reports on reoffending rates within the UK. The Government Collection of Proven Reoffending Statistics contains quarterly reports for periods covering January 2009 through to March 2016 - the last report covering January 2016 to March 2016 is dated 25th January 2018. Without comparing reports from that date with older reports against this article, I cannot say whether the recommendations were followed by the UK Government.

US Statistics

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) collects criminal history data from the FBI and state record repositories to study recidivism patterns of various offenders, including persons on probation or discharged from prison.

The latest study of state prisoners estimated the recidivism patterns of about 400,000 persons released from state prisons in 30 states in 2005. The findings from the 2005 study cannot be directly compared to those from BJS's previous prisoner recidivism studies due to changes in the demographic characteristics and criminal histories of the U.S. prison population, an increase in the number of states in the study, and improvements made to the quality and completeness of the nation's criminal history records since the mid-1990s. BJS has also used criminal history records to examine the recidivism of persons placed on federal community supervision in 2005.

In addition to recidivism statistics based on criminal history records, BJS collects administrative data through the Annual Surveys of Probation and Parole to examine the rate at which offenders are at risk of being incarcerated for a new offense or for violating the conditions of their supervision.
(Source)

References

Fazel, S., & Wolf, A. (2015). A Systematic Review of Criminal Recidivism Rates Worldwide: Current Difficulties and Recommendations for Best Practice. PLoS ONE, 10(6):e0130390.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130390 PMCID: PMC4472929


Results

Our searches returned recidivism statistics for 21 countries. No additional regional statistics were found. Three countries were excluded due to unclear reporting on follow-up length and how recidivism was defined.[8–10] Follow-up periods varied from 6 months to 9 years. Recidivism rates were reported as reconviction (Table 1) and reimprisonment (Table 2). Reconviction data was limited to high-income countries. For re-imprisonment, information on Chile, Israel and South Korea was available in addition to European, North American and Australasian countries. The most commonly reported statistics were 2-year reconviction rates.

Reporting definitions varied widely, and were often not transparent (for 2-year reconviction rates, see Table 3).

To address differences in definitions and measurements, we have developed reporting guidelines covering relevant aspects of repeat offending including inclusion and exclusion criteria, follow-up time, definition of recidivism, and other minimum information to allow international comparisons to be made (S2 Table). We followed principles previously used in the development of medical checklists, including a review of the literature, ease of use, and a plan for future changes to the guidelines.[11] We suggest reporting data separately by age and gender as these are factors linked to recidivism, and currently routinely collected data in many countries. Reporting should focus on adults, as the age of criminal responsibility varies.


The Case for Expunging Criminal Records

A new study shows the benefits of giving people a clean slate.

By J.J. Prescott and Sonja B. Starr

Professors Prescott and Starr teach at the University of Michigan Law School.

The consequences of a run-in with the law can persist for decades after the formal sentence has been served. People with records face major barriers to employment, housing and education, effectively condemning them to second-class citizenship.

In recent years, criminal justice reform efforts have increasingly focused on finding policy tools that can lower these barriers. The most powerful potential lever is the expungement of criminal convictions, which seals them from public view, removes them from databases, and neutralizes most of their legal effects.

At least 36 states have laws allowing expungement, but they tend to be narrow in scope. Whether it’s allowed typically depends on the number of convictions and the type of crime people usually have to wait years after completing their sentences and go through an elaborate process to have their records cleared.

In the past year there’s been an explosion of activity on this front, however. In late February, an especially ambitious bill was introduced in the California Legislature, allowing automatic expungement of misdemeanors and minor felonies after completion of a sentence. In Utah, an automatic expungement bill is awaiting the governor’s signature. These developments follow on the heels of the first major automatic expungement law, which passed in Pennsylvania last summer.

Reflecting the changing politics surrounding criminal justice, the movement for these reforms has attracted a bipartisan coalition, creating a real possibility that more states around the country could pass similar laws. Still, such efforts must overcome the primary objection of critics: that employers, landlords and others have a public safety interest in knowing the criminal records of those they interact with.

For many years, debates about expungement laws have been missing something critical: hard data about their effects. But this week, we released the results of the first major empirical study of expungement laws. Michigan, where our data came from, has an expungement law that exemplifies the traditional nonautomatic approach.

Our analysis produced some good news and some bad news — but all of the findings strongly support efforts to expand the availability of expungement.

The good news is that people who get expungements tend to do very well. We found that within a year, on average, their wages go up by more than 20 percent, after controlling for their employment history and changes in the Michigan economy. This gain is mostly driven by unemployed people finding work and minimally employed people finding steadier positions.

This finding is especially encouraging because some skeptics have argued that expungement can’t work in the age of Google — that the criminal-record genie can’t be put back in the bottle. We have no doubt that this is sometimes true: People with expunged records may sometimes be haunted by online mug shots, for instance. Even so, many others do benefit.

In addition, contrary to the fears of critics, people with expunged records break the law again at very low rates. Indeed, we found that their crime rates are considerably lower than those of Michigan’s general adult population . That may be in part because expungement reduces recidivism.

But another likely reason is that expungement recipients aren’t high risk to begin with. Like most states, Michigan requires a waiting period before expungement (five years after a person’s last interaction with law enforcement). Research in criminology indicates that people with records who go several years without another conviction are unlikely to offend again.

To be sure, if expanded laws cut down waiting periods or otherwise loosened eligibility requirements, the broader pools of recipients might have a higher baseline crime risk. But even then, there’s simply no reason to believe that expungement would increase those baseline crime risks. Again, if anything, access to jobs, housing and other benefits should reduce overall levels of crime.

So here’s the bad news: Hardly anyone gets expungements. According to information Michigan State Police provided to us, Michigan grants about 2,500 a year — but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the number of criminal convictions there each year. Precise numbers are hard to come by, but we estimate that there are hundreds of thousands annually.

Relatively few people with records meet the legal requirements — but that’s not the only problem. Even among those who do qualify, we found that only 6.5 percent received expungements within five years of becoming eligible. Michigan judges have discretion to reject applications, but that’s not the big reason for this low rate. Rather, over 90 percent of those eligible don’t even apply.

Given the large potential benefits of expungement, why wouldn’t someone apply? We interviewed expungement lawyers and advocates for people with records, whose insights pointed to a clear set of explanations. Most people don’t know they can get an expungement, or don’t know how to do it, and don’t have lawyers to advise them. The process is long and complicated, requiring visits to police stations and courthouses. The fees and costs (which in Michigan usually total close to $100, not including transportation and time away from work) are a barrier for people in poverty. And people with records have often had painful experiences with the criminal justice system, making the prospect of returning to it for any reason daunting.

The low rate of applications for expungement is consistent with broader findings about the difficulties that poor and middle-class Americans face in dealing with the legal system. When the state makes it too hard or costly for citizens to exercise a right or opportunity, it’s not that different from denying that right or opportunity. Most people won’t be able to jump through all those hoops.

The policy upshot of our research is clear: Obtaining an expungement should be made as simple as possible. Ideally, states should follow the approach of Pennsylvania and the new California and Utah bills, and make expungement automatic once the legal requirements are met.

Our results suggest that expungement is a powerful tool for improving outcomes for people with records, without risk (and possibly with benefits) to public safety. But lawmakers need to make it much easier for people to actually use that tool and get a fresh start to life.

J. J. Prescott and Sonja B. Starr are professors at the University of Michigan Law School.


Give Job Applicants with Criminal Records a Fair Chance

Business leaders who have recently pledged to improve their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts can start by implementing a practice called fair chance hiring. It mandates that employers only assess a candidate’s criminal record after the candidate has been interviewed and is considered qualified for a role. Studies show that employment is the single most important factor in reducing recidivism that people with criminal records are no more likely to be fired for misconduct than people without records and that they’re statistically less likely to quit, which saves employers a considerable amount in turnover costs. Employers considering building a fair chance hiring program should: 1) Create an intentional hiring plan and make sure that top leadership, HR, recruiting, and legal are all bought in 2) Connect with local community partners to identify talent 3) Conduct skills-based interviews and 4) Fairly assess the charges brought against the candidate by evaluating the nature of their conviction, the length of time that has passed since the offense, and the nature of the job for which you’re hiring.

HBR Staff/Craig Whitehead/Unsplash

This new decade has forced us to confront some harrowing truths — namely, that Black people and people of color don’t have the same access to fundamental resources. Business leaders in particular have an opportunity right now to help address some of the cracks in America’s social system, while also building more equitable, diverse, and overall stronger workplaces. They can start by implementing a practice called fair chance hiring.

Fair chance hiring is based on the premise that everyone, regardless of background, has the right to be fairly assessed for a role they are qualified for. The fact that Black people are more likely to face arrest and criminal charges — Black men are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of white men — means that they are more likely to be barred from entering the workforce because of a criminal record.

Essentially, fair chance hiring mandates that employers only assess a candidate’s criminal record after the candidate has been interviewed and is considered qualified for a role. To have a true impact, employers must go beyond “ban the box” policies and be proactive about establishing a pipeline of qualified candidates who, because of their criminal records, they’re otherwise likely to miss out on meeting.

How Fair Chance Hiring Can Bring Us Closer to Racial Justice

The criminalization of Black people dates back to the emancipation era and continues to fill the country’s prisons with a disproportionate population of Black and brown people to this day. This has occurred on top of generations of segregation, redlining, and prejudice.

When reentering society after incarceration, a person is expected to get a job, meaning they must find an employer willing to ignore a criminal record, overlook an often lengthy employment gap, and actively welcome them into their workplace culture. That is, as I’m sure you know, a very tall order.

If you’re Black, that tall order becomes a near impossibility. Today, as many as one in three Americans have a criminal record. Research shows that 17% of white Americans with a criminal record get called back after a job interview, compared to 5% of Black Americans with the same history. Imagine the devastation this causes: Not only do Black people face incalculable injustices within the criminal justice system, but those injustices continue long after a prison sentence. A father who can’t get a job because of his criminal record can’t support his family. His children grow up in poverty and receive unequal access to education and job opportunities. The cycle of inequity continues, and the community suffers.

Studies show that employment is the single most important factor in reducing recidivism. Suppose that same father is hired by a fair chance employer. He has a steady job, with an employer invested in his success. He is able to provide for his family and contribute to his community. His likelihood of recidivism plummets.

Assess the Candidate, Not the Record

While fair chance hiring doesn’t erase the injustices of the American prison system, it can help stop its reverberations. Research shows that when you hire people with criminal records, retention rates are likely to be higher. People with criminal records are no more likely to be fired for misconduct than people without records. They’re also statistically less likely to quit, which saves employers a considerable amount in turnover costs. You’re likely to see more creative problem solving, greater empathy, higher engagement, and unique and valuable viewpoints.

Here are a few steps to consider as you think about building your program:

1. Create an intentional hiring plan.

Start by having a conversation about fair chance hiring at an executive level. It’s important for your leadership to be bought in, otherwise it becomes difficult to make tangible change across the organization. Once executive leadership is onboard, it’s time to bring together a team of stakeholders from different parts of the organization, including folks from recruiting, HR, and legal. Recruiting and HR will play a crucial role in shaping the hiring process for fair chance talent and in building a system for candidates to onboard effectively, while your legal team will help you manage compliance and risk.

From here, you can start to outline the intentions, goals, and success metrics that will help you build the best possible program. Here are a few questions to ask yourself during this stage:

  • What do we hope to accomplish with our fair chance program?
  • How will this program impact and aid in our diversity, inclusion, and belonging efforts?
  • What do we want the hiring process to look and feel like for a fair chance candidate?
  • How many roles are currently open or will open that can be filled by fair chance talent?
  • How should we measure success? For example, should we look at roles filled by fair chance talent? Or should we look at diversity data overall?
  • What does success look like after six months? What about in 12 months and beyond?

2. Connect with local partners to find top fair chance talent.

Engaging in fair chance hiring is not only an opportunity to diversify your workforce, it’s also a chance to forge meaningful connections with job development experts in your community. Community-based organizations that focus on workforce development for reentry and fair chance talent are likely right in your backyard. Partnering with local source partners can give you strategic access to top talent with conviction histories without having to do a manual search yourself.

3. Conduct a skills-based interview.

Working to build a strong fair chance talent pipeline is a crucial step in a successful hiring process. But is your organization ready to receive this talent once they enter the interview phase? Many fair chance candidates who are qualified in terms of the skills they possess may not have previous job experience in the role, or may have a lengthy employment gap during their period of incarceration.

As you begin recruiting for your open roles, put yourself in the skills-based assessment mindset. Rather than focusing on past direct experience in the role you’re hiring for, focus on transferable skills and willingness to learn.

4. Fairly assess charges.

As applications come in, there may be some charges on the background check that need manual review. To fairly address these, you’ll need to set up an individualized assessment practice. This requires you to better understand each candidate. Here you can use something called the nature/time/nature test, which considers three things:

  • The nature of a person’s conviction history
  • The length of time that has passed since the offense
  • The nature of the job for which you’re hiring

Without considering this context, you’re really missing important information. The person you’re considering could have been a teenager who committed a harmless offense and was tried as an adult. A defendant could have taken a plea bargain to avoid the chance of receiving a harsher sentence. But when you take the time to investigate and understand what’s behind a person’s record, you give yourself the chance to appreciate the person in front of you.

Because of the demographic makeup of people who hold a criminal record, when companies make it a practice to not hire people with criminal records because of the risk, it’s tantamount to basing hiring decisions on someone’s race, gender, or ethnicity. If you have an experience with a white female employee in accounting who’s embezzled, do you then make it a practice to no longer hire white women, because of the risk? No, because hiring humans is always a risk. We just need to take the time and make the effort to make better informed decisions.

Fair chance hiring has the potential to give the 70 million Americans with a criminal record access to work. When your company decides to implement the practice, what it’s really doing is becoming an active participant in the betterment of society. That gives each of us the opportunity to live as equals and break the biased systems of the past.


INTEGRATED PUBLIC HEALTH-PUBLIC SAFETY STRATEGIES

Integrated public health-public safety strategies blend the functions of the criminal justice system and the drug abuse treatment system in an effort to optimize outcomes for offenders (Marlowe, 2002). Substance abuse treatment assumes a central role in these programs, rather than being peripheral to punitive ends, and is provided in clients’ community-of-origin, enabling clients to maintain family and social contacts and seek or continue in gainful education or employment. Responsibility for ensuring clients’ attendance in treatment and avoidance of drug use and criminal activity is not, however, delegated to treatment personnel, who may be unprepared or disinclined to deal with such matters and who have limited power to coerce patients to attend. The criminal justice system maintains substantial supervisory control over offenders and has enhanced authority through plea agreements and similar arrangements to respond rapidly and consistently to infractions in the program.

Noteworthy examples of recent integrated public health-public safety strategies include drug courts and work-release therapeutic communities, which are described in the following sections. While these certainly are not the only conceivable models of integrated strategies, they are the only ones that studies have consistently found effective in reducing drug use and recidivism.

Programs that represent the public health-public safety integration strategy and that have demonstrated effectiveness share a core set of attributes:

They provide treatment in the community.

They offer the opportunity for clients to avoid incarceration or a criminal record.

Clients are closely supervised to ensure compliance.

The consequences for noncompliance are certain and immediate.

Drug Courts

Drug courts constitute a clear paradigm of an integrated public health-public safety strategy that has shown promise for reducing drug use and recidivism among probationers and pretrial defendants. Drug courts are separate criminal court dockets that provide judicially supervised treatment and case-management services for drug offenders in lieu of prosecution or incarceration. The core components of a drug court typically include regular status hearings in court, random weekly urinalyses, mandatory completion of a prescribed regimen of substance abuse treatment, progressive negative sanctions for program infractions, and rewards for program accomplishments.

Common examples of negative sanctions include verbal reprimands by the judge, writing assignments, and brief intervals of detention. Common examples of rewards include verbal praise, token gifts, and graduation certificates. Counseling requirements may also appropriately be decreased when the client complies well with treatment or increased if he or she has poor attendance or participation or other problems. Clients who satisfactorily complete the program may have their current criminal charges dropped or may be sentenced to time served in the drug court program. Defendants are generally required to plead guilty or “no contest” as a precondition of entry into drug court. Therefore, termination from the program for non-compliance ordinarily results in a criminal drug conviction and sentencing to supervised probation or incarceration.

The evidence is clear that drug courts can increase clients’ exposure to treatment. Reviews of nearly 100 drug-court evaluations concluded that an average of 60 percent of drug court clients completed a year or more of treatment, and roughly 50 percent graduated from the program (Belenko, 1998, 1999, 2001). This compares favorably to typical retention rates in community-based drug treatment programs where, as noted, more than 70 percent of clients on probation and parole drop out of drug treatment or attend irregularly within 3 months, and 90 percent drop out in less than 1 year.

Promising, although less definitive, is the evidence with regard to the effects of drug courts on drug use and crime. Two experimental studies have compared outcomes between participants randomly assigned to either drug court or a comparable probationary condition. In one study, the Maricopa County (Arizona) Drug Court was found to have had no impact on rearrest rates 12 months after admission to drug court (Deschenes et al., 1995). However, a significant �layed effect” was detected at 36 months, at which time 33 percent of the drug court participants had been rearrested, compared to 47 percent of subjects in various probationary tracks (Turner et al., 1999).

Elements of Successful Programs

Effective programs such as drug courts and work-release therapeutic communities have the following elements in common:

Treatment in the community. For treatment gains to generalize and be sustained, clients require opportunities to practice new skills in the community environment. In contrast, incarceration removes individuals from family and social supports, interferes with employment or education, and exposes them to antisocial peer influences.

Opportunity to avoid a criminal record or incarceration. Treatment completion and drug abstinence are reinforced by removal of criminal justice sanctions, and clients can avoid the debilitating stigma of a criminal record.

Close supervision. The programs include random weekly urinalyses, status hearings with criminal justice authorities, and monitoring of official rearrest records. Clinicians provide regular progress reports to supervising authorities and may provide testimony at status hearings. As a result, clients are less apt to drop out of the system through inattention and cannot exploit gaps in communication.

Certain and immediate consequences. Clients agree to specified sanctions and rewards that can be readily applied without having to hold new formal hearings with the full range of due process protections. Termination for non-compliance or new infractions automatically results in a criminal conviction and criminal disposition.

Similarly, in a randomized study of the Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court, 48 percent of drug court clients and 64 percent of adjudication-as-usual control subjects were rearrested within 1 year of admission (Gottfredson and Exum, 2002). At 2 years post-admission, 66 percent of the Baltimore drug court participants and 81 percent of the controls had been rearrested for some offense, and 41 percent of the drug court participants and 54 percent of the controls had been rearrested for a drug-related offense (Gottfredson et al., 2003).

Nearly 100 quasi-experimental evaluations have compared outcomes between drug court participants and nonrandomized comparison groups. In the majority of these evaluations, drug court clients achieved significantly greater reductions𠅍ifferences of approximately 20 to 30 percentage points during treatment and 10 to 20 percentage points after treatment—in drug use, criminal recidivism, and unemployment than did individuals on standard probation or intensive probation (Belenko, 1998, 1999, 2001). The magnitudes of the posttreatment effects are comparable to the 15 percentage-point reduction in recidivism obtained in the two experimental studies reviewed above.

It is important to note, however, that many drug court evaluations have used systematically biased comparison samples, such as offenders who refused, were deemed ineligible for, or dropped out of the interventions. This may have led to an overestimation of positive outcomes for drug court clients in some studies because the comparison subjects are likely to have had more severe criminal histories or lower motivation for drug abuse treatment from the outset. Further, most of the studies evaluated outcomes only during the course of drug court or up to 1 year postdischarge, and hardly any studies have assessed substance-use outcomes after discharge. Thus, we know little about how drug court clients generally fare after the criminal justice supervision ends.

These limitations in the extant research on drug courts led the congressional General Accounting Office (GAO) to conclude there are insufficient data available to gauge the effectiveness of federally funded drug court programs in this country (GAO, 2002). In response to the GAO report, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) released a request for proposals for long-term client-impact evaluations of up to 10 drug courts that will include assessments of postprogram recidivism, drug use, employment, and psychosocial functioning and will include suitable comparison conditions. These evaluations are expected to shed further light on the long-term impact of drug courts.

Work-Release Therapeutic Communities

Encouraging results have been reported for therapeutic community (TC) programs targeted to individuals paroled from prison or conditionally transferred to a correctional work-release facility in the community. TCs are residential treatment programs that isolate clients from drugs, drug paraphernalia, and affiliations with drug-using associates. The peers in TCs influence each other by confronting negative personality traits, punishing inappropriate behaviors, rewarding positive behaviors, and providing mentorship and camaraderie. Clinical interventions commonly include confrontational encounter groups, process groups, community meetings, and altruistic volunteer activities.

Three-year longitudinal evaluations of geographically diverse correctional TC programs (Knight et al., 1999 Martin, et al., 1999 Wexler et al., 1999) suggest that, to be maximally effective, TC services should be provided along the full continuum of reentry, ranging from in-prison treatment, through work-release treatment, to continuing outpatient treatment. In all studies, in-prison TC treatment without after-care had no appreciable effect on drug use or rates of return to custody. However, offenders who completed a work-release TC exhibited significant reductions—of approximately 10 to 20 percentage points—in rearrests, returns to custody, and drug use. Moreover, completion of both in-prison and work-release programs was associated with a reduction of 30 to 50 percentage points in new arrests or returns to custody.

As with drug courts, these TC studies made inherently biased comparisons, such as contrasting TC dropouts with graduates, and comparing offenders who voluntarily entered aftercare to those who did not. As a result, it is difficult to be confident of the actual magnitude of the effects. Nevertheless, the results underscore the importance of providing aftercare services to offenders once they are released from prison. It is not sufficient to provide inmates with referral to a community treatment program. It is essential to prepare them for what to expect, to facilitate the referral by transferring the relevant paperwork and clinical information to the referral source, and to follow up to ensure that the individual has completed the referral (Cornish and Marlowe, in press). Moreover, as noted earlier, providing in-prison TC treatment may increase the probability that an inmate will continue in aftercare services. It would seem optimal to begin the continuum of drug treatment, including initial assessments and motivational enhancement interventions, prior to the inmate’s release.

Unfortunately, TCs are the only community-reentry programs that have been systematically studied. There are virtually no outcome data available on other types of postprison initiatives. Recently, NIDA released a request for applications to develop the Criminal Justice-Drug Abuse Treatment Services Research System, which is intended to, among other things, provide support for controlled studies of various community-reentry strategies for drug-involved offenders.


Methods of Punishment and Criminal Recidivism

The corrections system in the United States sees a large amount of the same people who are constantly being arrested and re-arrested. This is called recidivism. Recidivism is costly, both in taxpayer burden and the stress it induces for law enforcement personnel. By researching different methods of punishment and the effects they have on recidivism we can then understand the best way to combat the constant entry and exit that occurs every day.

One of the main problems with our criminal justice system is the issue of recidivism. More often than not, criminals who are released from jail will be arrested again. This leads to a constant flow of criminals coming in and out of prisons, jails, probation, and parole. In fact, according to a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, recidivism rates for particular offenders can be greater than 70% (Langan & Levlin 2002) with an overall rate between 43-46% (Pew Center 2011). More research is being done with probability equations to understand and to get accurate account of recidivism rates (Vrieze & Grove 2010).

The problem with the recidivism rate in the United States is that while criminals are being incarcerated, they are not being treated or rehabilitated to get away from the life of crime. Without proper treatment the recidivism rates will continue to stay the same, or grow, until some change is made in the justice system. There have been several scholarly journals written about the subject, as well as independent and government funded research performed to track and understand the recidivism rates.

Recidivism is an important issue due to the concern of public safety, the stress it puts on law enforcement, and cost and burden of the revolving door trend in today’s correctional facilities. Once recidivism starts it is harder for a person to stop performing criminal acts, and they tend to multiply and can get worse as time goes on. The purpose of this research plan is to take the research that has been done in the past a step further and discover any differences in recidivism for different types of treatment. This will allow social scientists to better understand the criminal mind and how to rehabilitate offenders and possible restore them into normal, functioning members of society.

The subjects of this research study about recidivism will be criminal offenders as well as law enforcement professionals including correctional officers. Some may be violent or serious offenders, but the majority will be those serving shorter sentences or those coming in and out of jails instead of prisons. Mentally ill offenders who no longer have treatment options due to deinstitutionalization of hospitals and the criminalization of the mentally ill will also be studied and will most likely play a big role in recidivism.

The purpose of the research plan will be to determine how post incarceration treatment affects the recidivism rates. It is expensive to keep offenders locked away in jails and prisons, and the more often they come in and out the more expensive it gets for the public. The mentally ill offenders who receive treatment also incur major expenses for the public. It is hypothesized that if better rehabilitation options were available to offenders, the recidivism rate would decrease and therefore costs would go down, as well as crime rates.

The data to be collected from offenders:

  • · Name, age, race, sex
  • · Personal history statement
  • · Criminal Activity History (including times arrested vs. times jailed)
  • · Punishment History (including jail time, prison time, probation, and health treatment)
  • · Rates of recidivism after release within a 1 year period
  • · Mental health history and current diagnoses

Data will be collected over a predetermined period of time from several locations. These locations will include local and county jails, state prisons, and federal prisons. Subjects who receive treatment, and those who do not, may be interviewed directly, and arrest records and jail population data will be used to further monitor recidivism rates. Data can either be collected nationwide or from local municipalities in order to see how different areas justice systems and treatment options affect crime and recidivism.

Participants will be selected based upon criminal history, medical history, personality traits, and availability to be interviewed. Criminal history will include charges of misdemeanors and felonies and more than one arrest. Persons with a serious mental illness will also be selected in order to understand the role that a mental illness plays in criminality. Face to face interviews will be voluntary at the time of release from prison, but other source materials about the offenders will be supplied by police, courts, prisons, rehab centers, and hospitals. Follow up interviews will be conducted after a period of 6 months to one year. This will either be once the offender is re-arrested, or once they successfully complete a treatment program.

By understanding the ways in which offenders are affected by their options in and out of confinement, it can be better understood how to treat them and reduce the risk for repeat behavior. A full analysis of the data collected will indicate a clear picture of the best option. Cooperation from the criminal justice system as well as the offenders will be a key component in collecting sufficient data for the project. The following are some sample questions that will be asked during interviews of offenders and correctional officers:

For criminal justice professionals:

  1. Tell me about your experiences in the facility you work in.
  2. Explain the different types of punishment and treatment options your facility provides.
  3. What are your opinions of incarceration vs. rehabilitation?
  4. Do you think that alternative options, such as mental health care and rehabilitation, would deter people from becoming repeat offenders?
  5. What ideas do you have to increase the effectiveness of the prison system?
  6. How effective do you think the current system is in preventing recidivism?
  • · Very Effective
  • · Somewhat Effective
  • · Sometimes Effective/Sometimes Not
  • · Somewhat Ineffective
  • · Very Ineffective
  1. How often do you see the same person back in jail/prison soon after being released?
  • · Very Often
  • · Somewhat Often
  • · Not Often
  • · Never
  1. How effective are the rehab & treatment options your facility offers?
  • · Very Effective
  • · Somewhat Effective
  • · There are no alternative treatment options
  • · Somewhat Ineffective
  • · Very Ineffective
  1. How strongly do you agree that recidivism is a problem in America?
  • · Completely Agree
  • · Strongly Agree
  • · Agree
  • · Strongly Disagree
  • · Completely Disagree
  1. How strongly do you agree that alternative treatment lowers recidivism in America?
  • · Completely Agree
  • · Strongly Agree
  • · Agree
  • · Strongly Disagree
  • · Completely Disagree

For those incarcerated or recently released:

  1. Tell me about how you ended up in jail/prison.
  2. Tell me about your history and if you’ve been arrested more than one time.
  3. How do you feel the facility you are in/were in is helping you to recover?
  4. Tell me about alternative treatment options that were available to you, or if they were not available, what sort of alternative treatment would you like to see?
  5. Tell me about how you were treated while incarcerated in a jail or prison.
  6. What do you think the chance is that once released you’ll be arrested again?
  • · Extremely Likely
  • · Somewhat Likely
  • · Average
  • · Somewhat Unlikely
  • · Extremely Unlikely
  1. How effective do you feel the system has been in rehabilitating you?
  • · Very Effective
  • · Somewhat Effective
  • · Effective
  • · Somewhat Ineffective
  • · Very Ineffective
  1. Do you think that alternative treatment options would be a more effective solution?
  • · Yes, definitely
  • · Yes, somewhat
  • · Not for me, but maybe others
  • · Definitely not
  1. Do you think with proper treatment you could change your life for the better?
  • · Strongly Agree
  • · Somewhat Agree
  • · Agree
  • · Somewhat Disagree
  • · Strongly Disagree
  1. Do you think that making restitution for your crime to your victim would ease their pain and ease your mind?
  • · Strongly Agree
  • · Somewhat Agree
  • · Agree
  • · Somewhat Disagree
  • · Strongly Disagree

The issue of recidivism in the United States is a problem that is growing bigger every day. More and more offenders in the criminal justice system are becoming repeat offenders. This leads to higher crime rates, higher expenses for police, courts, prisons, and jails, and more heartache for the families of those involved. The research that has been conducted isn’t just focused on what the rates of recidivism are they also focus on who is more likely to be a repeat offender as well as offering theories and solutions on how to reduce recidivism in the United States. Below are ten articles that explain recidivism and how different treatment options may be utilized to lower the recidivism rate.

Scott Vrieze and William Grove, in “Multidimensional assessment of criminal recidivism: Problems, pitfalls, and proposed solutions,” used their research to study risk assessment of recidivism as well as offer statistical formulas and probabilities on how and why recidivism occurs in an attempt to try and predict it. Their finding suggests that attempting to predict repeat offenders solely on testing has its issues (Vrieze & Grove 2010). Further analysis of their methods will have to be conducted before recidivism can be nailed down mathematically.

Jon T. Mandracchia and Robert D. Morgan examine how different variables and ways of thinking can play a part in the mindset of those already incarcerated. They examined 435 male offenders and were able to find correlations between certain mitigating factors. Their research was able to link a higher level of criminal thinking with certain factors such as age, education level, and time already served. They also sum up the current state of the corrections system by stating that “staggering rates of criminal recidivism undermine the ability of the criminal justice system to demonstrate its ability to be correctional in nature” (Mandracchia and Morgan 2010).

The entire issue of recidivism deals with repeat offenders, as does Lee’s article in the Texas Law Review entitled Recidivism as Omission: A Relational Account. Lee’s 2009 article focuses on the repeat offender and how harsher treatment for them still does not reduce recidivism. Lee’s belief (2009) is that it is the inability of the criminal to focus their life on non-criminal activity, whether through lack of will or lack of trying, and therefore the offender continues to commit crimes and face punishment for them.

A 2008 longitudinal study entitled Short-Term Criminal Pathways: Type and Seriousness of Offense and Recidivism examines juveniles and what factors in their lives guided them to their first criminal activity. The participants were followed through the justice system for two years. After the two years over half had already become repeat offenders (Nijhof et al, 2008). They also found that those who committed more overt or public crimes tended to have higher rates of repeat offenses.

In an attempt to impact the lives of repeat offenders, John Esperian took a look at education programs in prisons and what effect they have on criminality. His research found that those inmates who received education and were able to obtain an AA or their GED had a much lower rate of recidivism than those who did not (2009). His research also concluded that money allotted to the justice system could be saved due to these lower rates by not having to keep repeat offenders for longer periods of time. “It pays to educate” (2009).

Another research article looked at juvenile offenders and academic achievements. This 2008 study conducted by Ryan, Zhang, and Spann tried to find a direct correlation between grades and levels of learning and its impact on the criminal behavior and recidivism of juvenile offenders. While thoroughly researched, the authors were unable to find a specific link between the two (2008). While poor behavior does lead to poor academia, it doesn’t necessarily influence crime anymore than good grades stop criminal activity.

A major cause of repeat offenders is those who have been charged with a DUI. A 2007 study looked at 1.281 repeat DUI offenders and their subsequent punishment, whether it is prison, jails, rehabilitation, training classes, or meetings. They found that the current rates of DUI recidivism, when compared to those of the last 20 years, had not changed dramatically no matter the type of punishment (LaBrie et al, 2007).

While most of this research is done at a state or local level, a 1995 article examined the recidivism of federal prisoners in 1987. Miles Harar examined the profiles of released prisoners and any re-appearance in the justice system. He found that many were arrested again, and most of these were within the first year of release (1995). This further supports the fact that recidivism in the United States is a problem no matter the level of incarceration.

A recent article, written this year, researches the relationship between offenders not completing their psychological treatment and how that affects criminality and recidivism. Olver, Stockdale, and Wormith studied 41,438 offenders and their progress through the system. In instances where rehab and treatment were not being completed they found a jump repeat criminality for offenders (2011). This offers us some insight into a major cause of recidivism and gives us many ideas on how to better treat those getting out of incarceration in the hopes that they will be able to set themselves straight and stay out of prison.

The final article examines sexual offender laws and how they aim to prevent first time offenses and repeat offenders. It summarizes the different programs in place to reduce recidivism including registration, community awareness, monitoring of offenders, and restrictions on the places they can go (Bonnar-Kidd 2010). However, the research conducted indicates that all of the restrictions being placed on individuals in an attempt to reduce recidivism are not working and may be doing more harm than intended.

The Pew Center on the States “identifies and advances effective solutions” (Pew 2011) in today’s community for public safety. The 2011 report was part of the public safety performance project, a project aimed at improving areas of public safety with deep concerns. One of these areas was recidivism and the “revolving door” effect that recidivism causes with our correctional facilities

There has been lots of in-depth and well thought out research on the topic of criminal recidivism. However, while most research tells us who it’s happening to and why it keeps happening there have been very few attempts on explaining how to reduce recidivism. Unfortunately the current justice system programs have been in place for a long time and have done little to reduce the number of repeat offenders in the country. New research and ideas must be implemented if we are to lower crime rates and reduce the number of repeat offenders.

Research shows that recidivism is a common occurrence in our justice system and the typical punishment model employed by jails and prisons does little to counteract criminality on the outside. With well planned and executed research we can better understand criminal recidivism. When we can understand a problem we can then start to fight it. In determining the best course of actions for various types of prisoners we can aid them in recovery and returning into a pattern of normal life.

Antonis Katsiyannis, J. B. (2008). JUVENILE DELINQUENCY AND RECIDIVISM: THE IMPACT OF ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 24 , 177-196.

Bonnar-Kidd, K. K. (2010). Sexual Offender Laws and Prevention of Sexual Violence or Recidivism. American Journal of Public Health Vol 100 No 3 , 412-419.

Esperian, J. H. (2010). The Effect of Prison Education Programs on Recidivism. The Journal of Correctional Education 61(4) , 316-334.

Harer, M. D. (1995). Recidivism Among Federal Prisoners Released in 1987. Journal of Correctional Education Vol 46 Issue 3 , 98-127.

Jon T. Mandracchia, R. D. (2010). The Relationship Between Status Variables and Criminal Thinking in an Offender Population. Psychological Services Vol 7 No 1 , 27-33.

KARIN S. NIJHOF, R. A. (2008). Short-Term Criminal Pathways: Type and Seriousness of Offense and Recidivism. The Journal of Genetic Psychology 169(4) , 345-359.

Lee, Y. (2009). Recidivistn as Omission: A Relational Account. Texas Law Review Vol. 87 , 571-622.

Mark E. Olver, K. C. ( 2011). A Meta-Analysis of Predictors of Offender Treatment Attrition and Its Relationship to Recidivism. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Vol 79 , 6-21.

Richard A. LaBrie, R. C. (2007). Criminality and Continued DUI Offense: Criminal Typologies and Recidivism among Repeat Offenders. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 25 , 603-614.

Scott I. Vrieze, W. M. (2010). Multidimensional Assessment of Criminal Recidivism:. Psychological Assessment 2010, Vol. 22, No. 2, , 382-395.

The Pew Center. (2011). State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America’s Prisons. Washington, DC: The Pew Center on the States.


Purpose

There is a lack of research on predictors of criminal recidivism of offender patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Methods

653 potential predictor variables were anlyzed in a set of 344 offender patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (209 reconvicted) using machine learning algorithms. As a novel methodological approach, null hypothesis significance testing (NHST), backward selection, logistic regression, trees, support vector machines (SVM), and naive bayes were used for preselecting variables. Subsequently the variables identified as most influential were used for machine learning algorithm building and evaluation.

Results

The two final models (with/without imputation) predicted criminal recidivism with an accuracy of 81.7 % and 70.6 % and a predictive power (area under the curve, AUC) of 0.89 and 0.76 based on the following predictors: prescription of amisulpride prior to reoffending, suspended sentencing to imprisonment, legal complaints filed by relatives/therapists/public authorities, recent legal issues, number of offences leading to forensic treatment, anxiety upon discharge, being single, violence toward care team and constant breaking of rules during treatment, illegal opioid use, middle east as place of birth, and time span since the last psychiatric inpatient treatment.

Conclusion

Results provide new insight on possible factors influencing persistent offending in a specific subgroup of patients with a schizophrenic spectrum disorder.


Why Norway's prison system is so successful

That makes Norway's incarceration rate just 75 per 100,000 people, compared to 707 people for every 100,000 people in the US.

On top of that, when criminals in Norway leave prison, they stay out. It has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world at 20%. The US has one of the highest: 76.6% of prisoners are re-arrested within five years.

Norway also has a relatively low level of crime compared to the US, according to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The majority of crimes reported to police there are theft-related incidents, and violent crime is mostly confined to areas with drug trafficking and gang problems.

Based on that information, it's safe to assume Norway's criminal justice system is doing something right. Few citizens there go to prison, and those who do usually go only once. So how does Norway accomplish this feat? The country relies on a concept called " restorative justice ," which aims to repair the harm caused by crime rather than punish people. This system focuses on rehabilitating prisoners.

Take a look at Halden Prison, and you'll see what we mean. The 75-acre facility maintains as much "normalcy" as possible. That means no bars on the windows, kitchens fully equipped with sharp objects, and friendships between guards and inmates. For Norway, removing people's freedom is enough of a punishment.

Like many prisons, Halden seeks to prepare inmates for life on the outside with vocational programs: woodworking, assembly workshops, and even a recording studio.

In closed prisons we keep them locked up for some years and then let them back out, not having had any real responsibility for working or cooking. In the law, being sent to prison is nothing to do with putting you in a terrible prison to make you suffer. The punishment is that you lose your freedom. If we treat people like animals when they are in prison they are likely to behave like animals. Here we pay attention to you as human beings.

All of these characteristics are starkly different from America's system. When a retired warden from New York visited Halden, he could barely believe the accommodations . "This is prison utopia," he said in a documentary about his trip. "I don't think you can go any more liberal — other than giving the inmates the keys."

In general, prison should have five goals, as described by criminologist Bob Cameron : retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, restoration, and rehabilitation. In his words though, "Americans want their prisoners punished first and rehabilitated second."

Norway adopts a less punitive approach than the US and focuses on making sure prisoners don't come back. A 2007 report on recidivism released by the US Department of Justice found that strict incarceration actually increases offender recidivism, while facilities that incorporate "cognitive-behavioral programs rooted in social learning theory" are the most effective at keeping ex-cons out of jail.

The maximum life sentence in Norway shows just how serious the country is about its unique approach. With few exceptions (for genocide and war crimes mostly), judges can only sentence criminals to a maximum of 21 years. At the end of the initial term, however, five-year increments can be added onto to the prisoner's sentence every five years, indefinitely, if the system determines he or she isn't rehabilitated.

That's why Norwegian extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in a bombing and mass shooting, was only sentenced to 21 years. Most of the outrage and incredulity over that sentence, however, came from the US.

Overall, Norwegians, e ven some parents who lost children in the attack, seemed satisfied with the sentence, The New York Times reported. Still, Breivik's sentence, as is, put him behind bars for less than 100 days for every life he took, as The Atlantic noted. On the other hand, if the system doesn't determine Breivik "rehabilitated," he could stay in prison forever.

To those working within Norway's prison system, the short sentences and somewhat luxurious accommodations make complete sense. As Are Hoidel , Halden Prison's director, puts it: "Every inmates in Norwegian prison are going back to the society. Do you want people who are angry — or people who are rehabilitated?"


Recidivism and prior record of imprisonment

3.69 National estimates of the recidivism of offenders are not routinely published. Instead, the prior record of imprisonment of prisoners is examined. It is important to note, however, that prior record is not a measure of recidivism—it is incorrect to conclude that, because 76% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners may be repeat offenders, the recidivism rate is 76%. Prior record is, for each prisoner, simply a count of all previous terms of imprisonment across the life-course of that individual. It is not adjusted for age or any other factor. It is not a forecast of the likelihood of future offending nor does it take into account the time period within which such offending might occur. It is, nonetheless, the only measure currently available.

3.70 Nationally, the proportion of prisoners with a prior record of imprisonment was very high: three quarters (76%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners and half (49%) of non-Indigenous prisoners in 2016 had been in custody on at least one previous occasion. As Figure 3.19 shows, in every jurisdiction, a greater proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners than non-Indigenous prisoners had a prior record of imprisonment.

Figure 3.19: Proportion of prisoners with a prior record of imprisonment by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status (2016)


References

APA. (2017). Consensus Workgroup Policy Recommendations to the 115the Congress & Trump Administration on Behavioral Health Issues in the Criminal Justice System.

Coates, T.N. (2015). The black family in the age of mass incarceration. The Atlantic, 316(3), 82.

Cortes, K., & Rogers, S. (2010). Reentry Housing Options: The Policymakers' Guide. Council of State Governments.

Datchi, C.C., Barretti, L.M., & Thompson, C.M. (2016). Family services in adult detention centers: Systemic principles for prisoner reentry. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 5(2), 89.

Dougherty, J. (2012). Survey Reveals Barriers to Successful Ex-Offender Re-Entry. ROOCJPC.

Fontaine, J. (2013). Examining housing as a pathway to successful reentry: A demonstration design process.

Haymond, M. (2014). Should A Criminal Record Come With Collateral Consequences?

Holzer, H. J., Raphael, S., & Stoll, M. A. (2003). Employment barriers facing ex-offenders. Urban Institute Reentry Roundtable, 1-23.

Morenoff, J. D., & Harding, D. J. (2014). Incarceration, prisoner reentry, and communities. Annual review of sociology, 40, 411-429.

O'Brien, P. (2002). Reducing barriers to employment for women ex-offenders: Mapping the road to integration. Safer Foundation.

Prendergast, M.L. (2009). Interventions to promote successful re-entry among drug-abusing parolees. Addiction science & clinical practice, 5(1), 4.

Sexton, T.L. (2016). Incarceration as a family affair: Thinking beyond the individual. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 5(2), 61.

Taliaferro, W., Pham D., Cielinkski A. (2016) From Incarceration to Reentry. CLASP.


Recidivism and prior record of imprisonment

3.69 National estimates of the recidivism of offenders are not routinely published. Instead, the prior record of imprisonment of prisoners is examined. It is important to note, however, that prior record is not a measure of recidivism—it is incorrect to conclude that, because 76% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners may be repeat offenders, the recidivism rate is 76%. Prior record is, for each prisoner, simply a count of all previous terms of imprisonment across the life-course of that individual. It is not adjusted for age or any other factor. It is not a forecast of the likelihood of future offending nor does it take into account the time period within which such offending might occur. It is, nonetheless, the only measure currently available.

3.70 Nationally, the proportion of prisoners with a prior record of imprisonment was very high: three quarters (76%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners and half (49%) of non-Indigenous prisoners in 2016 had been in custody on at least one previous occasion. As Figure 3.19 shows, in every jurisdiction, a greater proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners than non-Indigenous prisoners had a prior record of imprisonment.

Figure 3.19: Proportion of prisoners with a prior record of imprisonment by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status (2016)


References

APA. (2017). Consensus Workgroup Policy Recommendations to the 115the Congress & Trump Administration on Behavioral Health Issues in the Criminal Justice System.

Coates, T.N. (2015). The black family in the age of mass incarceration. The Atlantic, 316(3), 82.

Cortes, K., & Rogers, S. (2010). Reentry Housing Options: The Policymakers' Guide. Council of State Governments.

Datchi, C.C., Barretti, L.M., & Thompson, C.M. (2016). Family services in adult detention centers: Systemic principles for prisoner reentry. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 5(2), 89.

Dougherty, J. (2012). Survey Reveals Barriers to Successful Ex-Offender Re-Entry. ROOCJPC.

Fontaine, J. (2013). Examining housing as a pathway to successful reentry: A demonstration design process.

Haymond, M. (2014). Should A Criminal Record Come With Collateral Consequences?

Holzer, H. J., Raphael, S., & Stoll, M. A. (2003). Employment barriers facing ex-offenders. Urban Institute Reentry Roundtable, 1-23.

Morenoff, J. D., & Harding, D. J. (2014). Incarceration, prisoner reentry, and communities. Annual review of sociology, 40, 411-429.

O'Brien, P. (2002). Reducing barriers to employment for women ex-offenders: Mapping the road to integration. Safer Foundation.

Prendergast, M.L. (2009). Interventions to promote successful re-entry among drug-abusing parolees. Addiction science & clinical practice, 5(1), 4.

Sexton, T.L. (2016). Incarceration as a family affair: Thinking beyond the individual. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 5(2), 61.

Taliaferro, W., Pham D., Cielinkski A. (2016) From Incarceration to Reentry. CLASP.


Give Job Applicants with Criminal Records a Fair Chance

Business leaders who have recently pledged to improve their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts can start by implementing a practice called fair chance hiring. It mandates that employers only assess a candidate’s criminal record after the candidate has been interviewed and is considered qualified for a role. Studies show that employment is the single most important factor in reducing recidivism that people with criminal records are no more likely to be fired for misconduct than people without records and that they’re statistically less likely to quit, which saves employers a considerable amount in turnover costs. Employers considering building a fair chance hiring program should: 1) Create an intentional hiring plan and make sure that top leadership, HR, recruiting, and legal are all bought in 2) Connect with local community partners to identify talent 3) Conduct skills-based interviews and 4) Fairly assess the charges brought against the candidate by evaluating the nature of their conviction, the length of time that has passed since the offense, and the nature of the job for which you’re hiring.

HBR Staff/Craig Whitehead/Unsplash

This new decade has forced us to confront some harrowing truths — namely, that Black people and people of color don’t have the same access to fundamental resources. Business leaders in particular have an opportunity right now to help address some of the cracks in America’s social system, while also building more equitable, diverse, and overall stronger workplaces. They can start by implementing a practice called fair chance hiring.

Fair chance hiring is based on the premise that everyone, regardless of background, has the right to be fairly assessed for a role they are qualified for. The fact that Black people are more likely to face arrest and criminal charges — Black men are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of white men — means that they are more likely to be barred from entering the workforce because of a criminal record.

Essentially, fair chance hiring mandates that employers only assess a candidate’s criminal record after the candidate has been interviewed and is considered qualified for a role. To have a true impact, employers must go beyond “ban the box” policies and be proactive about establishing a pipeline of qualified candidates who, because of their criminal records, they’re otherwise likely to miss out on meeting.

How Fair Chance Hiring Can Bring Us Closer to Racial Justice

The criminalization of Black people dates back to the emancipation era and continues to fill the country’s prisons with a disproportionate population of Black and brown people to this day. This has occurred on top of generations of segregation, redlining, and prejudice.

When reentering society after incarceration, a person is expected to get a job, meaning they must find an employer willing to ignore a criminal record, overlook an often lengthy employment gap, and actively welcome them into their workplace culture. That is, as I’m sure you know, a very tall order.

If you’re Black, that tall order becomes a near impossibility. Today, as many as one in three Americans have a criminal record. Research shows that 17% of white Americans with a criminal record get called back after a job interview, compared to 5% of Black Americans with the same history. Imagine the devastation this causes: Not only do Black people face incalculable injustices within the criminal justice system, but those injustices continue long after a prison sentence. A father who can’t get a job because of his criminal record can’t support his family. His children grow up in poverty and receive unequal access to education and job opportunities. The cycle of inequity continues, and the community suffers.

Studies show that employment is the single most important factor in reducing recidivism. Suppose that same father is hired by a fair chance employer. He has a steady job, with an employer invested in his success. He is able to provide for his family and contribute to his community. His likelihood of recidivism plummets.

Assess the Candidate, Not the Record

While fair chance hiring doesn’t erase the injustices of the American prison system, it can help stop its reverberations. Research shows that when you hire people with criminal records, retention rates are likely to be higher. People with criminal records are no more likely to be fired for misconduct than people without records. They’re also statistically less likely to quit, which saves employers a considerable amount in turnover costs. You’re likely to see more creative problem solving, greater empathy, higher engagement, and unique and valuable viewpoints.

Here are a few steps to consider as you think about building your program:

1. Create an intentional hiring plan.

Start by having a conversation about fair chance hiring at an executive level. It’s important for your leadership to be bought in, otherwise it becomes difficult to make tangible change across the organization. Once executive leadership is onboard, it’s time to bring together a team of stakeholders from different parts of the organization, including folks from recruiting, HR, and legal. Recruiting and HR will play a crucial role in shaping the hiring process for fair chance talent and in building a system for candidates to onboard effectively, while your legal team will help you manage compliance and risk.

From here, you can start to outline the intentions, goals, and success metrics that will help you build the best possible program. Here are a few questions to ask yourself during this stage:

  • What do we hope to accomplish with our fair chance program?
  • How will this program impact and aid in our diversity, inclusion, and belonging efforts?
  • What do we want the hiring process to look and feel like for a fair chance candidate?
  • How many roles are currently open or will open that can be filled by fair chance talent?
  • How should we measure success? For example, should we look at roles filled by fair chance talent? Or should we look at diversity data overall?
  • What does success look like after six months? What about in 12 months and beyond?

2. Connect with local partners to find top fair chance talent.

Engaging in fair chance hiring is not only an opportunity to diversify your workforce, it’s also a chance to forge meaningful connections with job development experts in your community. Community-based organizations that focus on workforce development for reentry and fair chance talent are likely right in your backyard. Partnering with local source partners can give you strategic access to top talent with conviction histories without having to do a manual search yourself.

3. Conduct a skills-based interview.

Working to build a strong fair chance talent pipeline is a crucial step in a successful hiring process. But is your organization ready to receive this talent once they enter the interview phase? Many fair chance candidates who are qualified in terms of the skills they possess may not have previous job experience in the role, or may have a lengthy employment gap during their period of incarceration.

As you begin recruiting for your open roles, put yourself in the skills-based assessment mindset. Rather than focusing on past direct experience in the role you’re hiring for, focus on transferable skills and willingness to learn.

4. Fairly assess charges.

As applications come in, there may be some charges on the background check that need manual review. To fairly address these, you’ll need to set up an individualized assessment practice. This requires you to better understand each candidate. Here you can use something called the nature/time/nature test, which considers three things:

  • The nature of a person’s conviction history
  • The length of time that has passed since the offense
  • The nature of the job for which you’re hiring

Without considering this context, you’re really missing important information. The person you’re considering could have been a teenager who committed a harmless offense and was tried as an adult. A defendant could have taken a plea bargain to avoid the chance of receiving a harsher sentence. But when you take the time to investigate and understand what’s behind a person’s record, you give yourself the chance to appreciate the person in front of you.

Because of the demographic makeup of people who hold a criminal record, when companies make it a practice to not hire people with criminal records because of the risk, it’s tantamount to basing hiring decisions on someone’s race, gender, or ethnicity. If you have an experience with a white female employee in accounting who’s embezzled, do you then make it a practice to no longer hire white women, because of the risk? No, because hiring humans is always a risk. We just need to take the time and make the effort to make better informed decisions.

Fair chance hiring has the potential to give the 70 million Americans with a criminal record access to work. When your company decides to implement the practice, what it’s really doing is becoming an active participant in the betterment of society. That gives each of us the opportunity to live as equals and break the biased systems of the past.


The Case for Expunging Criminal Records

A new study shows the benefits of giving people a clean slate.

By J.J. Prescott and Sonja B. Starr

Professors Prescott and Starr teach at the University of Michigan Law School.

The consequences of a run-in with the law can persist for decades after the formal sentence has been served. People with records face major barriers to employment, housing and education, effectively condemning them to second-class citizenship.

In recent years, criminal justice reform efforts have increasingly focused on finding policy tools that can lower these barriers. The most powerful potential lever is the expungement of criminal convictions, which seals them from public view, removes them from databases, and neutralizes most of their legal effects.

At least 36 states have laws allowing expungement, but they tend to be narrow in scope. Whether it’s allowed typically depends on the number of convictions and the type of crime people usually have to wait years after completing their sentences and go through an elaborate process to have their records cleared.

In the past year there’s been an explosion of activity on this front, however. In late February, an especially ambitious bill was introduced in the California Legislature, allowing automatic expungement of misdemeanors and minor felonies after completion of a sentence. In Utah, an automatic expungement bill is awaiting the governor’s signature. These developments follow on the heels of the first major automatic expungement law, which passed in Pennsylvania last summer.

Reflecting the changing politics surrounding criminal justice, the movement for these reforms has attracted a bipartisan coalition, creating a real possibility that more states around the country could pass similar laws. Still, such efforts must overcome the primary objection of critics: that employers, landlords and others have a public safety interest in knowing the criminal records of those they interact with.

For many years, debates about expungement laws have been missing something critical: hard data about their effects. But this week, we released the results of the first major empirical study of expungement laws. Michigan, where our data came from, has an expungement law that exemplifies the traditional nonautomatic approach.

Our analysis produced some good news and some bad news — but all of the findings strongly support efforts to expand the availability of expungement.

The good news is that people who get expungements tend to do very well. We found that within a year, on average, their wages go up by more than 20 percent, after controlling for their employment history and changes in the Michigan economy. This gain is mostly driven by unemployed people finding work and minimally employed people finding steadier positions.

This finding is especially encouraging because some skeptics have argued that expungement can’t work in the age of Google — that the criminal-record genie can’t be put back in the bottle. We have no doubt that this is sometimes true: People with expunged records may sometimes be haunted by online mug shots, for instance. Even so, many others do benefit.

In addition, contrary to the fears of critics, people with expunged records break the law again at very low rates. Indeed, we found that their crime rates are considerably lower than those of Michigan’s general adult population . That may be in part because expungement reduces recidivism.

But another likely reason is that expungement recipients aren’t high risk to begin with. Like most states, Michigan requires a waiting period before expungement (five years after a person’s last interaction with law enforcement). Research in criminology indicates that people with records who go several years without another conviction are unlikely to offend again.

To be sure, if expanded laws cut down waiting periods or otherwise loosened eligibility requirements, the broader pools of recipients might have a higher baseline crime risk. But even then, there’s simply no reason to believe that expungement would increase those baseline crime risks. Again, if anything, access to jobs, housing and other benefits should reduce overall levels of crime.

So here’s the bad news: Hardly anyone gets expungements. According to information Michigan State Police provided to us, Michigan grants about 2,500 a year — but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the number of criminal convictions there each year. Precise numbers are hard to come by, but we estimate that there are hundreds of thousands annually.

Relatively few people with records meet the legal requirements — but that’s not the only problem. Even among those who do qualify, we found that only 6.5 percent received expungements within five years of becoming eligible. Michigan judges have discretion to reject applications, but that’s not the big reason for this low rate. Rather, over 90 percent of those eligible don’t even apply.

Given the large potential benefits of expungement, why wouldn’t someone apply? We interviewed expungement lawyers and advocates for people with records, whose insights pointed to a clear set of explanations. Most people don’t know they can get an expungement, or don’t know how to do it, and don’t have lawyers to advise them. The process is long and complicated, requiring visits to police stations and courthouses. The fees and costs (which in Michigan usually total close to $100, not including transportation and time away from work) are a barrier for people in poverty. And people with records have often had painful experiences with the criminal justice system, making the prospect of returning to it for any reason daunting.

The low rate of applications for expungement is consistent with broader findings about the difficulties that poor and middle-class Americans face in dealing with the legal system. When the state makes it too hard or costly for citizens to exercise a right or opportunity, it’s not that different from denying that right or opportunity. Most people won’t be able to jump through all those hoops.

The policy upshot of our research is clear: Obtaining an expungement should be made as simple as possible. Ideally, states should follow the approach of Pennsylvania and the new California and Utah bills, and make expungement automatic once the legal requirements are met.

Our results suggest that expungement is a powerful tool for improving outcomes for people with records, without risk (and possibly with benefits) to public safety. But lawmakers need to make it much easier for people to actually use that tool and get a fresh start to life.

J. J. Prescott and Sonja B. Starr are professors at the University of Michigan Law School.


INTEGRATED PUBLIC HEALTH-PUBLIC SAFETY STRATEGIES

Integrated public health-public safety strategies blend the functions of the criminal justice system and the drug abuse treatment system in an effort to optimize outcomes for offenders (Marlowe, 2002). Substance abuse treatment assumes a central role in these programs, rather than being peripheral to punitive ends, and is provided in clients’ community-of-origin, enabling clients to maintain family and social contacts and seek or continue in gainful education or employment. Responsibility for ensuring clients’ attendance in treatment and avoidance of drug use and criminal activity is not, however, delegated to treatment personnel, who may be unprepared or disinclined to deal with such matters and who have limited power to coerce patients to attend. The criminal justice system maintains substantial supervisory control over offenders and has enhanced authority through plea agreements and similar arrangements to respond rapidly and consistently to infractions in the program.

Noteworthy examples of recent integrated public health-public safety strategies include drug courts and work-release therapeutic communities, which are described in the following sections. While these certainly are not the only conceivable models of integrated strategies, they are the only ones that studies have consistently found effective in reducing drug use and recidivism.

Programs that represent the public health-public safety integration strategy and that have demonstrated effectiveness share a core set of attributes:

They provide treatment in the community.

They offer the opportunity for clients to avoid incarceration or a criminal record.

Clients are closely supervised to ensure compliance.

The consequences for noncompliance are certain and immediate.

Drug Courts

Drug courts constitute a clear paradigm of an integrated public health-public safety strategy that has shown promise for reducing drug use and recidivism among probationers and pretrial defendants. Drug courts are separate criminal court dockets that provide judicially supervised treatment and case-management services for drug offenders in lieu of prosecution or incarceration. The core components of a drug court typically include regular status hearings in court, random weekly urinalyses, mandatory completion of a prescribed regimen of substance abuse treatment, progressive negative sanctions for program infractions, and rewards for program accomplishments.

Common examples of negative sanctions include verbal reprimands by the judge, writing assignments, and brief intervals of detention. Common examples of rewards include verbal praise, token gifts, and graduation certificates. Counseling requirements may also appropriately be decreased when the client complies well with treatment or increased if he or she has poor attendance or participation or other problems. Clients who satisfactorily complete the program may have their current criminal charges dropped or may be sentenced to time served in the drug court program. Defendants are generally required to plead guilty or “no contest” as a precondition of entry into drug court. Therefore, termination from the program for non-compliance ordinarily results in a criminal drug conviction and sentencing to supervised probation or incarceration.

The evidence is clear that drug courts can increase clients’ exposure to treatment. Reviews of nearly 100 drug-court evaluations concluded that an average of 60 percent of drug court clients completed a year or more of treatment, and roughly 50 percent graduated from the program (Belenko, 1998, 1999, 2001). This compares favorably to typical retention rates in community-based drug treatment programs where, as noted, more than 70 percent of clients on probation and parole drop out of drug treatment or attend irregularly within 3 months, and 90 percent drop out in less than 1 year.

Promising, although less definitive, is the evidence with regard to the effects of drug courts on drug use and crime. Two experimental studies have compared outcomes between participants randomly assigned to either drug court or a comparable probationary condition. In one study, the Maricopa County (Arizona) Drug Court was found to have had no impact on rearrest rates 12 months after admission to drug court (Deschenes et al., 1995). However, a significant �layed effect” was detected at 36 months, at which time 33 percent of the drug court participants had been rearrested, compared to 47 percent of subjects in various probationary tracks (Turner et al., 1999).

Elements of Successful Programs

Effective programs such as drug courts and work-release therapeutic communities have the following elements in common:

Treatment in the community. For treatment gains to generalize and be sustained, clients require opportunities to practice new skills in the community environment. In contrast, incarceration removes individuals from family and social supports, interferes with employment or education, and exposes them to antisocial peer influences.

Opportunity to avoid a criminal record or incarceration. Treatment completion and drug abstinence are reinforced by removal of criminal justice sanctions, and clients can avoid the debilitating stigma of a criminal record.

Close supervision. The programs include random weekly urinalyses, status hearings with criminal justice authorities, and monitoring of official rearrest records. Clinicians provide regular progress reports to supervising authorities and may provide testimony at status hearings. As a result, clients are less apt to drop out of the system through inattention and cannot exploit gaps in communication.

Certain and immediate consequences. Clients agree to specified sanctions and rewards that can be readily applied without having to hold new formal hearings with the full range of due process protections. Termination for non-compliance or new infractions automatically results in a criminal conviction and criminal disposition.

Similarly, in a randomized study of the Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court, 48 percent of drug court clients and 64 percent of adjudication-as-usual control subjects were rearrested within 1 year of admission (Gottfredson and Exum, 2002). At 2 years post-admission, 66 percent of the Baltimore drug court participants and 81 percent of the controls had been rearrested for some offense, and 41 percent of the drug court participants and 54 percent of the controls had been rearrested for a drug-related offense (Gottfredson et al., 2003).

Nearly 100 quasi-experimental evaluations have compared outcomes between drug court participants and nonrandomized comparison groups. In the majority of these evaluations, drug court clients achieved significantly greater reductions𠅍ifferences of approximately 20 to 30 percentage points during treatment and 10 to 20 percentage points after treatment—in drug use, criminal recidivism, and unemployment than did individuals on standard probation or intensive probation (Belenko, 1998, 1999, 2001). The magnitudes of the posttreatment effects are comparable to the 15 percentage-point reduction in recidivism obtained in the two experimental studies reviewed above.

It is important to note, however, that many drug court evaluations have used systematically biased comparison samples, such as offenders who refused, were deemed ineligible for, or dropped out of the interventions. This may have led to an overestimation of positive outcomes for drug court clients in some studies because the comparison subjects are likely to have had more severe criminal histories or lower motivation for drug abuse treatment from the outset. Further, most of the studies evaluated outcomes only during the course of drug court or up to 1 year postdischarge, and hardly any studies have assessed substance-use outcomes after discharge. Thus, we know little about how drug court clients generally fare after the criminal justice supervision ends.

These limitations in the extant research on drug courts led the congressional General Accounting Office (GAO) to conclude there are insufficient data available to gauge the effectiveness of federally funded drug court programs in this country (GAO, 2002). In response to the GAO report, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) released a request for proposals for long-term client-impact evaluations of up to 10 drug courts that will include assessments of postprogram recidivism, drug use, employment, and psychosocial functioning and will include suitable comparison conditions. These evaluations are expected to shed further light on the long-term impact of drug courts.

Work-Release Therapeutic Communities

Encouraging results have been reported for therapeutic community (TC) programs targeted to individuals paroled from prison or conditionally transferred to a correctional work-release facility in the community. TCs are residential treatment programs that isolate clients from drugs, drug paraphernalia, and affiliations with drug-using associates. The peers in TCs influence each other by confronting negative personality traits, punishing inappropriate behaviors, rewarding positive behaviors, and providing mentorship and camaraderie. Clinical interventions commonly include confrontational encounter groups, process groups, community meetings, and altruistic volunteer activities.

Three-year longitudinal evaluations of geographically diverse correctional TC programs (Knight et al., 1999 Martin, et al., 1999 Wexler et al., 1999) suggest that, to be maximally effective, TC services should be provided along the full continuum of reentry, ranging from in-prison treatment, through work-release treatment, to continuing outpatient treatment. In all studies, in-prison TC treatment without after-care had no appreciable effect on drug use or rates of return to custody. However, offenders who completed a work-release TC exhibited significant reductions—of approximately 10 to 20 percentage points—in rearrests, returns to custody, and drug use. Moreover, completion of both in-prison and work-release programs was associated with a reduction of 30 to 50 percentage points in new arrests or returns to custody.

As with drug courts, these TC studies made inherently biased comparisons, such as contrasting TC dropouts with graduates, and comparing offenders who voluntarily entered aftercare to those who did not. As a result, it is difficult to be confident of the actual magnitude of the effects. Nevertheless, the results underscore the importance of providing aftercare services to offenders once they are released from prison. It is not sufficient to provide inmates with referral to a community treatment program. It is essential to prepare them for what to expect, to facilitate the referral by transferring the relevant paperwork and clinical information to the referral source, and to follow up to ensure that the individual has completed the referral (Cornish and Marlowe, in press). Moreover, as noted earlier, providing in-prison TC treatment may increase the probability that an inmate will continue in aftercare services. It would seem optimal to begin the continuum of drug treatment, including initial assessments and motivational enhancement interventions, prior to the inmate’s release.

Unfortunately, TCs are the only community-reentry programs that have been systematically studied. There are virtually no outcome data available on other types of postprison initiatives. Recently, NIDA released a request for applications to develop the Criminal Justice-Drug Abuse Treatment Services Research System, which is intended to, among other things, provide support for controlled studies of various community-reentry strategies for drug-involved offenders.


Results

Our searches returned recidivism statistics for 21 countries. No additional regional statistics were found. Three countries were excluded due to unclear reporting on follow-up length and how recidivism was defined.[8–10] Follow-up periods varied from 6 months to 9 years. Recidivism rates were reported as reconviction (Table 1) and reimprisonment (Table 2). Reconviction data was limited to high-income countries. For re-imprisonment, information on Chile, Israel and South Korea was available in addition to European, North American and Australasian countries. The most commonly reported statistics were 2-year reconviction rates.

Reporting definitions varied widely, and were often not transparent (for 2-year reconviction rates, see Table 3).

To address differences in definitions and measurements, we have developed reporting guidelines covering relevant aspects of repeat offending including inclusion and exclusion criteria, follow-up time, definition of recidivism, and other minimum information to allow international comparisons to be made (S2 Table). We followed principles previously used in the development of medical checklists, including a review of the literature, ease of use, and a plan for future changes to the guidelines.[11] We suggest reporting data separately by age and gender as these are factors linked to recidivism, and currently routinely collected data in many countries. Reporting should focus on adults, as the age of criminal responsibility varies.


Methods of Punishment and Criminal Recidivism

The corrections system in the United States sees a large amount of the same people who are constantly being arrested and re-arrested. This is called recidivism. Recidivism is costly, both in taxpayer burden and the stress it induces for law enforcement personnel. By researching different methods of punishment and the effects they have on recidivism we can then understand the best way to combat the constant entry and exit that occurs every day.

One of the main problems with our criminal justice system is the issue of recidivism. More often than not, criminals who are released from jail will be arrested again. This leads to a constant flow of criminals coming in and out of prisons, jails, probation, and parole. In fact, according to a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, recidivism rates for particular offenders can be greater than 70% (Langan & Levlin 2002) with an overall rate between 43-46% (Pew Center 2011). More research is being done with probability equations to understand and to get accurate account of recidivism rates (Vrieze & Grove 2010).

The problem with the recidivism rate in the United States is that while criminals are being incarcerated, they are not being treated or rehabilitated to get away from the life of crime. Without proper treatment the recidivism rates will continue to stay the same, or grow, until some change is made in the justice system. There have been several scholarly journals written about the subject, as well as independent and government funded research performed to track and understand the recidivism rates.

Recidivism is an important issue due to the concern of public safety, the stress it puts on law enforcement, and cost and burden of the revolving door trend in today’s correctional facilities. Once recidivism starts it is harder for a person to stop performing criminal acts, and they tend to multiply and can get worse as time goes on. The purpose of this research plan is to take the research that has been done in the past a step further and discover any differences in recidivism for different types of treatment. This will allow social scientists to better understand the criminal mind and how to rehabilitate offenders and possible restore them into normal, functioning members of society.

The subjects of this research study about recidivism will be criminal offenders as well as law enforcement professionals including correctional officers. Some may be violent or serious offenders, but the majority will be those serving shorter sentences or those coming in and out of jails instead of prisons. Mentally ill offenders who no longer have treatment options due to deinstitutionalization of hospitals and the criminalization of the mentally ill will also be studied and will most likely play a big role in recidivism.

The purpose of the research plan will be to determine how post incarceration treatment affects the recidivism rates. It is expensive to keep offenders locked away in jails and prisons, and the more often they come in and out the more expensive it gets for the public. The mentally ill offenders who receive treatment also incur major expenses for the public. It is hypothesized that if better rehabilitation options were available to offenders, the recidivism rate would decrease and therefore costs would go down, as well as crime rates.

The data to be collected from offenders:

  • · Name, age, race, sex
  • · Personal history statement
  • · Criminal Activity History (including times arrested vs. times jailed)
  • · Punishment History (including jail time, prison time, probation, and health treatment)
  • · Rates of recidivism after release within a 1 year period
  • · Mental health history and current diagnoses

Data will be collected over a predetermined period of time from several locations. These locations will include local and county jails, state prisons, and federal prisons. Subjects who receive treatment, and those who do not, may be interviewed directly, and arrest records and jail population data will be used to further monitor recidivism rates. Data can either be collected nationwide or from local municipalities in order to see how different areas justice systems and treatment options affect crime and recidivism.

Participants will be selected based upon criminal history, medical history, personality traits, and availability to be interviewed. Criminal history will include charges of misdemeanors and felonies and more than one arrest. Persons with a serious mental illness will also be selected in order to understand the role that a mental illness plays in criminality. Face to face interviews will be voluntary at the time of release from prison, but other source materials about the offenders will be supplied by police, courts, prisons, rehab centers, and hospitals. Follow up interviews will be conducted after a period of 6 months to one year. This will either be once the offender is re-arrested, or once they successfully complete a treatment program.

By understanding the ways in which offenders are affected by their options in and out of confinement, it can be better understood how to treat them and reduce the risk for repeat behavior. A full analysis of the data collected will indicate a clear picture of the best option. Cooperation from the criminal justice system as well as the offenders will be a key component in collecting sufficient data for the project. The following are some sample questions that will be asked during interviews of offenders and correctional officers:

For criminal justice professionals:

  1. Tell me about your experiences in the facility you work in.
  2. Explain the different types of punishment and treatment options your facility provides.
  3. What are your opinions of incarceration vs. rehabilitation?
  4. Do you think that alternative options, such as mental health care and rehabilitation, would deter people from becoming repeat offenders?
  5. What ideas do you have to increase the effectiveness of the prison system?
  6. How effective do you think the current system is in preventing recidivism?
  • · Very Effective
  • · Somewhat Effective
  • · Sometimes Effective/Sometimes Not
  • · Somewhat Ineffective
  • · Very Ineffective
  1. How often do you see the same person back in jail/prison soon after being released?
  • · Very Often
  • · Somewhat Often
  • · Not Often
  • · Never
  1. How effective are the rehab & treatment options your facility offers?
  • · Very Effective
  • · Somewhat Effective
  • · There are no alternative treatment options
  • · Somewhat Ineffective
  • · Very Ineffective
  1. How strongly do you agree that recidivism is a problem in America?
  • · Completely Agree
  • · Strongly Agree
  • · Agree
  • · Strongly Disagree
  • · Completely Disagree
  1. How strongly do you agree that alternative treatment lowers recidivism in America?
  • · Completely Agree
  • · Strongly Agree
  • · Agree
  • · Strongly Disagree
  • · Completely Disagree

For those incarcerated or recently released:

  1. Tell me about how you ended up in jail/prison.
  2. Tell me about your history and if you’ve been arrested more than one time.
  3. How do you feel the facility you are in/were in is helping you to recover?
  4. Tell me about alternative treatment options that were available to you, or if they were not available, what sort of alternative treatment would you like to see?
  5. Tell me about how you were treated while incarcerated in a jail or prison.
  6. What do you think the chance is that once released you’ll be arrested again?
  • · Extremely Likely
  • · Somewhat Likely
  • · Average
  • · Somewhat Unlikely
  • · Extremely Unlikely
  1. How effective do you feel the system has been in rehabilitating you?
  • · Very Effective
  • · Somewhat Effective
  • · Effective
  • · Somewhat Ineffective
  • · Very Ineffective
  1. Do you think that alternative treatment options would be a more effective solution?
  • · Yes, definitely
  • · Yes, somewhat
  • · Not for me, but maybe others
  • · Definitely not
  1. Do you think with proper treatment you could change your life for the better?
  • · Strongly Agree
  • · Somewhat Agree
  • · Agree
  • · Somewhat Disagree
  • · Strongly Disagree
  1. Do you think that making restitution for your crime to your victim would ease their pain and ease your mind?
  • · Strongly Agree
  • · Somewhat Agree
  • · Agree
  • · Somewhat Disagree
  • · Strongly Disagree

The issue of recidivism in the United States is a problem that is growing bigger every day. More and more offenders in the criminal justice system are becoming repeat offenders. This leads to higher crime rates, higher expenses for police, courts, prisons, and jails, and more heartache for the families of those involved. The research that has been conducted isn’t just focused on what the rates of recidivism are they also focus on who is more likely to be a repeat offender as well as offering theories and solutions on how to reduce recidivism in the United States. Below are ten articles that explain recidivism and how different treatment options may be utilized to lower the recidivism rate.

Scott Vrieze and William Grove, in “Multidimensional assessment of criminal recidivism: Problems, pitfalls, and proposed solutions,” used their research to study risk assessment of recidivism as well as offer statistical formulas and probabilities on how and why recidivism occurs in an attempt to try and predict it. Their finding suggests that attempting to predict repeat offenders solely on testing has its issues (Vrieze & Grove 2010). Further analysis of their methods will have to be conducted before recidivism can be nailed down mathematically.

Jon T. Mandracchia and Robert D. Morgan examine how different variables and ways of thinking can play a part in the mindset of those already incarcerated. They examined 435 male offenders and were able to find correlations between certain mitigating factors. Their research was able to link a higher level of criminal thinking with certain factors such as age, education level, and time already served. They also sum up the current state of the corrections system by stating that “staggering rates of criminal recidivism undermine the ability of the criminal justice system to demonstrate its ability to be correctional in nature” (Mandracchia and Morgan 2010).

The entire issue of recidivism deals with repeat offenders, as does Lee’s article in the Texas Law Review entitled Recidivism as Omission: A Relational Account. Lee’s 2009 article focuses on the repeat offender and how harsher treatment for them still does not reduce recidivism. Lee’s belief (2009) is that it is the inability of the criminal to focus their life on non-criminal activity, whether through lack of will or lack of trying, and therefore the offender continues to commit crimes and face punishment for them.

A 2008 longitudinal study entitled Short-Term Criminal Pathways: Type and Seriousness of Offense and Recidivism examines juveniles and what factors in their lives guided them to their first criminal activity. The participants were followed through the justice system for two years. After the two years over half had already become repeat offenders (Nijhof et al, 2008). They also found that those who committed more overt or public crimes tended to have higher rates of repeat offenses.

In an attempt to impact the lives of repeat offenders, John Esperian took a look at education programs in prisons and what effect they have on criminality. His research found that those inmates who received education and were able to obtain an AA or their GED had a much lower rate of recidivism than those who did not (2009). His research also concluded that money allotted to the justice system could be saved due to these lower rates by not having to keep repeat offenders for longer periods of time. “It pays to educate” (2009).

Another research article looked at juvenile offenders and academic achievements. This 2008 study conducted by Ryan, Zhang, and Spann tried to find a direct correlation between grades and levels of learning and its impact on the criminal behavior and recidivism of juvenile offenders. While thoroughly researched, the authors were unable to find a specific link between the two (2008). While poor behavior does lead to poor academia, it doesn’t necessarily influence crime anymore than good grades stop criminal activity.

A major cause of repeat offenders is those who have been charged with a DUI. A 2007 study looked at 1.281 repeat DUI offenders and their subsequent punishment, whether it is prison, jails, rehabilitation, training classes, or meetings. They found that the current rates of DUI recidivism, when compared to those of the last 20 years, had not changed dramatically no matter the type of punishment (LaBrie et al, 2007).

While most of this research is done at a state or local level, a 1995 article examined the recidivism of federal prisoners in 1987. Miles Harar examined the profiles of released prisoners and any re-appearance in the justice system. He found that many were arrested again, and most of these were within the first year of release (1995). This further supports the fact that recidivism in the United States is a problem no matter the level of incarceration.

A recent article, written this year, researches the relationship between offenders not completing their psychological treatment and how that affects criminality and recidivism. Olver, Stockdale, and Wormith studied 41,438 offenders and their progress through the system. In instances where rehab and treatment were not being completed they found a jump repeat criminality for offenders (2011). This offers us some insight into a major cause of recidivism and gives us many ideas on how to better treat those getting out of incarceration in the hopes that they will be able to set themselves straight and stay out of prison.

The final article examines sexual offender laws and how they aim to prevent first time offenses and repeat offenders. It summarizes the different programs in place to reduce recidivism including registration, community awareness, monitoring of offenders, and restrictions on the places they can go (Bonnar-Kidd 2010). However, the research conducted indicates that all of the restrictions being placed on individuals in an attempt to reduce recidivism are not working and may be doing more harm than intended.

The Pew Center on the States “identifies and advances effective solutions” (Pew 2011) in today’s community for public safety. The 2011 report was part of the public safety performance project, a project aimed at improving areas of public safety with deep concerns. One of these areas was recidivism and the “revolving door” effect that recidivism causes with our correctional facilities

There has been lots of in-depth and well thought out research on the topic of criminal recidivism. However, while most research tells us who it’s happening to and why it keeps happening there have been very few attempts on explaining how to reduce recidivism. Unfortunately the current justice system programs have been in place for a long time and have done little to reduce the number of repeat offenders in the country. New research and ideas must be implemented if we are to lower crime rates and reduce the number of repeat offenders.

Research shows that recidivism is a common occurrence in our justice system and the typical punishment model employed by jails and prisons does little to counteract criminality on the outside. With well planned and executed research we can better understand criminal recidivism. When we can understand a problem we can then start to fight it. In determining the best course of actions for various types of prisoners we can aid them in recovery and returning into a pattern of normal life.

Antonis Katsiyannis, J. B. (2008). JUVENILE DELINQUENCY AND RECIDIVISM: THE IMPACT OF ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 24 , 177-196.

Bonnar-Kidd, K. K. (2010). Sexual Offender Laws and Prevention of Sexual Violence or Recidivism. American Journal of Public Health Vol 100 No 3 , 412-419.

Esperian, J. H. (2010). The Effect of Prison Education Programs on Recidivism. The Journal of Correctional Education 61(4) , 316-334.

Harer, M. D. (1995). Recidivism Among Federal Prisoners Released in 1987. Journal of Correctional Education Vol 46 Issue 3 , 98-127.

Jon T. Mandracchia, R. D. (2010). The Relationship Between Status Variables and Criminal Thinking in an Offender Population. Psychological Services Vol 7 No 1 , 27-33.

KARIN S. NIJHOF, R. A. (2008). Short-Term Criminal Pathways: Type and Seriousness of Offense and Recidivism. The Journal of Genetic Psychology 169(4) , 345-359.

Lee, Y. (2009). Recidivistn as Omission: A Relational Account. Texas Law Review Vol. 87 , 571-622.

Mark E. Olver, K. C. ( 2011). A Meta-Analysis of Predictors of Offender Treatment Attrition and Its Relationship to Recidivism. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Vol 79 , 6-21.

Richard A. LaBrie, R. C. (2007). Criminality and Continued DUI Offense: Criminal Typologies and Recidivism among Repeat Offenders. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 25 , 603-614.

Scott I. Vrieze, W. M. (2010). Multidimensional Assessment of Criminal Recidivism:. Psychological Assessment 2010, Vol. 22, No. 2, , 382-395.

The Pew Center. (2011). State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America’s Prisons. Washington, DC: The Pew Center on the States.


Why Norway's prison system is so successful

That makes Norway's incarceration rate just 75 per 100,000 people, compared to 707 people for every 100,000 people in the US.

On top of that, when criminals in Norway leave prison, they stay out. It has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world at 20%. The US has one of the highest: 76.6% of prisoners are re-arrested within five years.

Norway also has a relatively low level of crime compared to the US, according to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The majority of crimes reported to police there are theft-related incidents, and violent crime is mostly confined to areas with drug trafficking and gang problems.

Based on that information, it's safe to assume Norway's criminal justice system is doing something right. Few citizens there go to prison, and those who do usually go only once. So how does Norway accomplish this feat? The country relies on a concept called " restorative justice ," which aims to repair the harm caused by crime rather than punish people. This system focuses on rehabilitating prisoners.

Take a look at Halden Prison, and you'll see what we mean. The 75-acre facility maintains as much "normalcy" as possible. That means no bars on the windows, kitchens fully equipped with sharp objects, and friendships between guards and inmates. For Norway, removing people's freedom is enough of a punishment.

Like many prisons, Halden seeks to prepare inmates for life on the outside with vocational programs: woodworking, assembly workshops, and even a recording studio.

In closed prisons we keep them locked up for some years and then let them back out, not having had any real responsibility for working or cooking. In the law, being sent to prison is nothing to do with putting you in a terrible prison to make you suffer. The punishment is that you lose your freedom. If we treat people like animals when they are in prison they are likely to behave like animals. Here we pay attention to you as human beings.

All of these characteristics are starkly different from America's system. When a retired warden from New York visited Halden, he could barely believe the accommodations . "This is prison utopia," he said in a documentary about his trip. "I don't think you can go any more liberal — other than giving the inmates the keys."

In general, prison should have five goals, as described by criminologist Bob Cameron : retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, restoration, and rehabilitation. In his words though, "Americans want their prisoners punished first and rehabilitated second."

Norway adopts a less punitive approach than the US and focuses on making sure prisoners don't come back. A 2007 report on recidivism released by the US Department of Justice found that strict incarceration actually increases offender recidivism, while facilities that incorporate "cognitive-behavioral programs rooted in social learning theory" are the most effective at keeping ex-cons out of jail.

The maximum life sentence in Norway shows just how serious the country is about its unique approach. With few exceptions (for genocide and war crimes mostly), judges can only sentence criminals to a maximum of 21 years. At the end of the initial term, however, five-year increments can be added onto to the prisoner's sentence every five years, indefinitely, if the system determines he or she isn't rehabilitated.

That's why Norwegian extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in a bombing and mass shooting, was only sentenced to 21 years. Most of the outrage and incredulity over that sentence, however, came from the US.

Overall, Norwegians, e ven some parents who lost children in the attack, seemed satisfied with the sentence, The New York Times reported. Still, Breivik's sentence, as is, put him behind bars for less than 100 days for every life he took, as The Atlantic noted. On the other hand, if the system doesn't determine Breivik "rehabilitated," he could stay in prison forever.

To those working within Norway's prison system, the short sentences and somewhat luxurious accommodations make complete sense. As Are Hoidel , Halden Prison's director, puts it: "Every inmates in Norwegian prison are going back to the society. Do you want people who are angry — or people who are rehabilitated?"


Purpose

There is a lack of research on predictors of criminal recidivism of offender patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Methods

653 potential predictor variables were anlyzed in a set of 344 offender patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (209 reconvicted) using machine learning algorithms. As a novel methodological approach, null hypothesis significance testing (NHST), backward selection, logistic regression, trees, support vector machines (SVM), and naive bayes were used for preselecting variables. Subsequently the variables identified as most influential were used for machine learning algorithm building and evaluation.

Results

The two final models (with/without imputation) predicted criminal recidivism with an accuracy of 81.7 % and 70.6 % and a predictive power (area under the curve, AUC) of 0.89 and 0.76 based on the following predictors: prescription of amisulpride prior to reoffending, suspended sentencing to imprisonment, legal complaints filed by relatives/therapists/public authorities, recent legal issues, number of offences leading to forensic treatment, anxiety upon discharge, being single, violence toward care team and constant breaking of rules during treatment, illegal opioid use, middle east as place of birth, and time span since the last psychiatric inpatient treatment.

Conclusion

Results provide new insight on possible factors influencing persistent offending in a specific subgroup of patients with a schizophrenic spectrum disorder.


Watch the video: American Indian Incarceration Rates, Recidivism Rates, and Rehabilitation Programs (August 2022).