Recidivism and how it relates to criminal justice
Students who are seeking their bachelor’s in criminal justice may come across the subject of recidivism. The definition of this word comes from the Latin for “recurring,” as the term relates to the issue of criminals returning to past behaviors after being integrated in a rehabilitation program. The tendency for past offenders to relapse is a big part of any criminal justice and criminology program, as a high number of those who commit crimes return to the same acts.
This may be frustrating for those who are either entering or currently involved in a bachelor’s in criminology program. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the highest rates of recidivism (70.2 to 77.4 percent) occurred by those who were involved in some form of thievery, while violent crimes, such as homicide, only experienced a recidivism rate of 1.2 percent.
What is recidivism?
The issue of recidivism: Recidivism is a large issue in the criminology and criminal justice world because many law enforcement officials end up seeing the same perpetrators over and over again. This may cause some groups to question whether or not the country’s justice system works. A study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency found that strong criminal deterrents work to reduce incidents of recidivism.
Predicting future offenses: Many professionals think that a criminal record induces one to repeat an offense and that the former offender should be subject to more scrutiny. Statistics do show that certain types of people will enter into behavioral patterns, however, and those in a criminal justice and criminology degree program will learn how to decipher this type of data.
Studies on recidivism
Factors influencing recidivism: Recidivism is affected by societal and criminal factors. A Danish study found that both age and type of career influenced rates of repeat offending. The type of correctional institution also heavily weighed on whether or not a prisoner came back, which lends some credit to the risk principle.
Redemption: Part of President Barack Obama’s law enforcement initiative is to help those with a criminal record find work. Those who have stayed clean for many years are less likely to have a repeat offense and may have their past crimes wiped clean from their records under this plan.
The effects of incarceration: The effects of incarceration on criminals has been studied at length. Research shows hat those who have spent longer amounts of time in prison are more likely to repeat a crime.
Using criminology to understand recidivism
The death penalty’s effect on recidivism: Although many states use the death penalty as a deterrent for violent crimes, the act does little to waylay extremely malicious crimes. In fact, certain states with the death penalty actually have higher rates of homicide than others.
Recidivism among female prisoners: Female prisoners experience lower rates of recidivism than men across all areas of crime. Women can also be less likely to offend within a certain crime category.
Prison as deterrent: Prison as deterrent is a long-standing argument that occurs between criminologists and those involved in law enforcement. The high rate of recidivism in certain areas shows that incarceration may not be useful for these crimes, but success in other areas shows that jail does work for some.
Common repeat offences
Juvenile: In 2008, the recidivism rate for juveniles was 35.9 percent in Indiana, as reported by Indiana’s Department of Corrections. This was below the national average, which was reported as 67.5 percent in 2006 by a study conducted by the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons.
Domestic assault: Statistics within the area of domestic violence can be skewed due to a large amount of crimes that may not be reported.
Robbery: Robbers and larcenists experience higher rates of recidivism than any other offenders. This may be because these types of criminals receive less jail time than those who commit violent acts.