Causes of Recidivism Essay

2134 Words Jun 2nd, 2012 9 Pages
Causes of Recidivism

Abstract In recent decades, the United States has undergone a substantial increase in prison population. Across the country, prisons are faced with the problem of severe overpopulation. Although crime rates have dramatically decreased over the years, the rates of incarceration have gone in the opposite direction and continue to increase. One of the major underlying factors for the increase lies within recidivism. Repeat offenders make up a large component of the overall prison population. The purpose of this paper is to present the causes of recidivism and the aspects of an offender’s life that tend to lead to re-incarceration.

The term recidivism has been
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This may easily explain why the recidivism rate for homicide is only 1.2%. The fact of the matter is that one out of every twenty people in the United States will spend time in jail or prison in their lifetime (Western 8). If the United States is able to lower the rate of recidivism even slightly, the country can reduce the dramatic overcrowding in our prison system. By doing this, it will not only provide a safer and more effective system for our inmates and correctional staffs, but will also relieve state and federal tax dollars which are spent on these inmates. In actuality, it costs an average of $40,000 annually to house an inmate. The most effective method in determining how to reduce the rates of recidivism is attempting to identify the root causes. By doing so, correctional institutions and local probation offices can attempt to create more effective programs both inside prison walls as well as within the community in order to reduce the overall number of repeat offenders. Looking at the biological factors of recidivism, studies show that recidivism rates in males are much higher than rates in females. However, female prisoners tend to be older, have a higher education level, and have a more distinguished employment history than their male counterparts. Female inmates also tend to enter prison for the first time at older age than males, and also have less of a criminal history. Besides gender, age also plays a very critical role for both males and females. For

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