How can we reduce recidivism rates through the criminal justice system?

Develop standardized, evidence-based programs to reduce recidivism. Research shows that the risk of recidivism can be effectively reduced through evidence-based programming that addresses criminogenic needs, such as cognitive behavioral therapy courses and other topics. Inmate programming also makes prisons safer because inmates who participate in productive activities are less likely to commit institutional misconduct. As a result, BOP is expanding access to critical national programs, including BRAVE and STAGES, and is developing new national programs where programming gaps exist.

To achieve this goal, the Office will request additional allocations to increase its staffing in critical positions, such as social workers, psychologists and treatment specialists. This year, the Office developed a standardized release preparation program, mandatory for all released inmates, which will be offered across the country. In addition, the Office is streamlining its many locally developed programs to focus on evidence-based programs with a proven track record of reducing recidivism. As part of this process, the Office developed a “Catalog of model programs for inmates”, which contains curriculum guides for some 50 model programs that Office centers are encouraged to adopt throughout the country.

In addition, the Office has developed a new computerized system to better track which facilities are implementing which model programs. Finally, the Office is committed to increasing the enrollment of inmates in appropriate programs by improving its case management process and offering greater use of incentives. When I started working in the prison 22 years ago, on the wall next to the entrance to the staff area there was something similar to the words: “Treat a person as they are and will continue to be so. Treat them as they could be and they will become that person.

It only took me a couple of months working on the floor to understand why most prison staff wanted to paint those idealistic words and replace them with: “If you don't want to be treated like an inmate, stay out of jail.”. Why did trusting science feel so bad. The conflict within me came from my own prosocial belief system and 15 years of correctional experience at the time, trying to tell me what should work to prevent criminals with antisocial ideas from returning to prison. I didn't agree with the science.

However, what I finally discovered was that I should stop trying to relate to criminals from my own perspective and trust what the research told me. So what do we know so far? Well, as a basis, we know that nothing works every time or with all criminals. Second, some things that we think should work actually do more harm than good and increase the return rates of offenders to jail. We also know that if we do everything right, at best we will only reduce the recidivism rate by 30 to 40%.

Corrections1 is revolutionizing the way the prison community finds relevant news, identifies important training information, interacts with each other, and investigates product purchases and suppliers. It has become the most comprehensive and trusted online destination for prison professionals across the country. Actuarial risk assessment instruments are designed to measure the likelihood of future contact with the criminal justice system. For example, through the Justice Program Evaluation (JPA), CSG Justice Center staff carry out an intensive, system-wide evaluation of recidivism reduction programs to identify if high-risk individuals are prioritized to participate in programs, if research-based curricula are used, and if high-quality programming is delivered in a consistent manner.

In addition to focusing on more intensive supervision and services for people who are most likely to reoffend (risk principle), programs should also focus treatment on criminogenic needs (dynamic factors that contribute to the likelihood of recidivism), such as criminal thinking or attitude (needs principle). Social science research indicates that each inmate has their own criminogenic factors, such as criminal history, substance abuse, and educational level. A person's tendency to relapse into a particular previous behavior or condition, especially criminal behavior. State and local governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on a wide variety of programs and services aimed at reducing people's recidivism in the criminal justice system.

The three main elements of programs that can help reduce recidivism provide policy makers with the tools needed to ensure that the programs they fund have the greatest positive impact on people in the criminal justice system. Through the Reinvestment in Justice Initiative, the CSG Justice Center often works with state leaders and government agencies to determine how to improve the impact of the program's investments in reducing recidivism. The organizations and processes of the prison and criminal justice systems must also evolve to be optimized based on emerging analytical or technical capacities. At a time when many Americans are thinking about the future of their communities, an important and current issue is the reform of the criminal justice system.


Luis Mersinger
Luis Mersinger

Devoted internet enthusiast. Evil internet geek. General pop culture enthusiast. Extreme web specialist. Typical internet aficionado. Alcohol guru.

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