Recidivism in the United States
It is no longer new information that over two-thirds of persons released from the United States criminal justice system will end up back in prison within a few years. The Department of Justice has provided data that indicates that 68% of inmates released from over 25 different states were rearrested within 3 years of their release, after six years the percentage increased to 79% and 83% after nine years. This data pictures the increasing rate and the attendant problem caused by recidivism in the United States. This creates the need for an understanding of the certain ways that recidivism may be reduced.
Ways to reduce recidivism among ex-offenders
The Department of Justice has released some tips that would help authorities and individuals reduce the rate of recidivism and help create a safer environment ultimately. Below are some of the suggested ways to reduce recidivism among ex-offenders:
- From the inception, the authorities may identify the offender’s criminogenic factors by considering the offender’s education level, the criminal history, and any indication of substance abuse; this is required to create a program of rehabilitation that fits perfectly with the needs of the recently incarcerated offender.
- It has been proven by research that offenders who engage in educational activities have higher chances of not returning to prison and thus the amount spent on educating offenders will help save the cost of taking care of the same persons as they may be able to find their way through life without being involved in criminal activities. This educational participation may be online or maybe physical.
- Interestingly, research again has shown that improving the skills of an inmate will help reduce the chances of the inmate’s recidivism. Thus inmates may be armed with the necessary skills required to find gainful employment after re-entry.
- Prison authorities may be concerned enough to ensure the mental health and wellbeing of the inmates within their care, they may provide therapy sessions for offenders who have repeatedly displayed characteristics usually associated with mental illness.
- Ensuring that inmates in prison facilities with a history of drug abuse are given adequate treatment that allows them to be completely detached from the menace.
- Prison authorities should help inmates remain in contact with their close family ties as this will help them to choose to stay out when they get out.
- The reduction of the use of solitary confinement in prisons may also serve as a way to help offenders, especially juveniles. Such punitive measures should be limited to low-level infractions
- Equipping inmates with the resources and information required for re-entry by the prison authorities will go a long way in ensuring that inmates won’t feel like a fish out of water by the time they are out of incarceration.
- Another very important way to reduce recidivism is to eliminate the use of criminal justice debt in some states. Understandably, these debts are charged to help reduce state burden and they are charged against an offender who more often than not does not possess the resources enough to pay back those debts and might just choose to return to prison.
Essentially, the task of reducing recidivism falls not just on the incarcerated individual but on the authorities, because it enhances a safe environment and it helps reduce the cost of taking care of persons who are constant visitors to prison facilities. These tips do not attempt to bear the task of reducing recidivism by 100%, however, based on the research it has been proven that these tips will help considerably reduce recidivism drastically.