Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

All-in-one learning app

  • Flashcards
  • NotesNotes
  • ExplanationsExplanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Start studying

Recidivism

Save Save
Print Print
Edit Edit
Sign up to use all features for free. Sign up now
Recidivism

When a person commits a crime, typically, they are punished with the goal in mind being that they do not commit the crime again. Demonstrating to society that certain behaviours are unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the eyes of the law provides both a sense of deterrence and a sense of safety for some.

What is recidivism?

Custodial sentencing is when a convicted criminal is put in prison or another institution such as a mental facility or young offender’s institute is used to punish, rehabilitate, and generally deter undesirable societal behaviours. According to the law, if someone commits a crime, the justice system takes action against the person in the wrong. Similarly, those who have committed a crime, in general, are also punished for their behaviour. However, punishment to reduce or prevent undesirable behaviours is not always successful.

Recidivism Prison StudySmarterPrison, Flaticon

Recidivism is when a person repeats an undesirable/delinquent behaviour for which they previously had been punished, usually with a prison sentence. It essentially means ‘re-offending’.

What is recidivism rate?

According to gov.uk, as of December 2019, around 25.2% of adults in the UK had a proven re-offending rate. According to a 2013 report, approximately 66% of ex-prisoners re-offend when they have unstable living situations, compared to 51% of those with stable accommodation. Different factors affect the rate of recidivism.

This costs the economy a lot, as the criminal has gone through punishment, with the goal being that they would be deterred from repeating the behaviour. Society is usually the one footing the bill. Therefore, the rate of recidivism is something many governments keep an eye on. It benefits everyone when a person is truly rehabilitated after undergoing a custodial sentence.

Considering the goal of a custodial sentence is to both punish and prevent this behaviour from occurring in the future, the rate of recidivism is unacceptable for multiple reasons:

  1. It demonstrates to the public that the current disciplinary process does not work
  2. It is failing to adequately punish, deter, and rehabilitate criminals as it claims it will

What factors influence the rates of recidivism?

Multiple factors influence the rates of recidivism:

  • Post-release support/supervision
  • Education level
  • The seriousness of the crime committed
  • The mental health of the person
  • Prisoner ethnicity
  • Job opportunities post-release
  • Social prospects post-release (friends, family, intimate relationships)
  • Access to drugs

Each factor has the potential to affect the rate at which a person is likely to re-offend. Someone who recently was released from prison will likely need to find a job for living expenses. However, upon applying to jobs, the offender finds that their criminal record negatively affects their ability to get a job. This is frustrating and creates a sense of hopelessness in the person so they may re-offend to either get money for living expenses or to act out their frustration.

Gillis et al. (1998) demonstrated how offenders who managed to find some form of employment within six months of their initial release had fewer convictions than those who didn’t.

Another example is if a person is using drugs or has been known to have problems with addiction. If they cannot fund this addiction post-release and have no assistance from services, they may re-offend to gain access to the drugs once more.

A problem with the studies demonstrating recidivism rates is that they fail to establish an actual cause and effect; they merely suggest a link between factors and recidivism rates.

What are some alternatives to custodial sentencing?

As we have established, custodial sentencing does not seem to solve the issue of recidivism. Some ex-convicts will continue to re-offend, suggesting the current punishment system has flaws. It fails to address the needs of the criminal. It is necessary to consider the alternatives to custodial sentencing or programs that help ex-convicts. Some of these are:

If a prisoner exhibits signs of mental health issues, helping them treat these symptoms will ultimately aid the rehabilitation process. Similarly, providing them with opportunities to learn, gain useful skills to attain a job, and even going as far as to provide job opportunities post-release (by offering roles that do not discriminate based on criminal record) would improve rates of recidivism.

Recidivism Alternatives to custodial sentencing therapy StudySmarterTherapy as an alternative to custodial sentencing, Flaticon

The main issues preventing this from happening are public opinion and the government’s overall reluctance to invest money in the prison system. If the government benefits those who are supposed to be punished, it will not reflect well on them. Similarly, economic implications and restraints limit funding opportunities.

Despite the above rates of recidivism, overall, they are dropping in the UK as time goes on. However, criminals are still re-offending, so it is worth considering behavioural modification programmes within custody to avoid this issue upon their release.


Recidivism - Key takeaways

  • Recidivism is where a person repeats an undesirable/delinquent behaviour that previously they had been punished for, usually with a prison sentence. It essentially means ‘re-offending’.
  • As of December 2019, around 25.2% of adults in the UK had a proven re-offending rate.
  • This costs the economy a lot, as the criminal has gone through punishment, with the goal being that they would be deterred from repeating the behaviour. This has failed if recidivism occurs.
  • Gillis et al. (1998) demonstrated how offenders who managed to find some form of employment within six months of their initial release had fewer convictions than those who didn’t.
  • Alternatives to custodial sentencing are counselling, drug rehabilitation programmes, skills training programmes and education opportunities, to name a few.

Frequently Asked Questions about Recidivism

A person who has committed a robbery is convicted and sentenced to prison for the crime. After they are released, they then go on to burgle again. This is an example of recidivism, as they have re-offended. 

Recidivism is where a person repeats an undesirable/delinquent behaviour that previously they had been punished for, usually with a prison sentence. It essentially means 're-offending'.

Typically, recidivism is measured using data provided by the police, courts, corrective services, government reports, and self-reports. This is then collected, measured, and analysed in studies. 

Potentially, depending on how supervised the probation period is. Some studies found those who were on probation had different rates of recidivism, however, more recent research has found that supervised probation had demonstrably lower rates of recidivism. 

Recidivism is a sign that the current punishment system is not working. It implies that a custodial sentence, for instance, is not effective in deterring delinquent behaviours. It also costs more money for society as a whole and reduces feelings of safety. Those who have been wronged may also feel that they have not been appropriately compensated (through justified punishment of the offender). 

Final Recidivism Quiz

Question

What is recidivism?

Show answer

Answer

Recidivism is where a person repeats an undesirable/delinquent behaviour that previously they had been punished for, usually with a prison sentence. It essentially means 're-offending'.

Show question

Question

As of December 2019, how many adults in the UK had a proven re-offending rate?

Show answer

Answer

25.2% 

Show question

Question

According to a report in 2013, __ of ex-prisoners went on to re-offend when they had unstable living conditions.


Show answer

Answer

66%

Show question

Question

Why is recidivism bad for society?

Show answer

Answer

It costs money. It reduces feelings of safety. Those who have been wronged lose faith in the system. It implies the current punishment system is lacking. 

Show question

Question

Between 2007 and 2008, how much did the re-offending of youth offenders cost the economy?

Show answer

Answer

£13 billion.

Show question

Question

What factors influence the rates of recidivism?

Show answer

Answer

  • Post-release support/supervision
  • Education level 
  • The seriousness of the crime committed
  • The mental health of the person
  • Prisoner ethnicity
  • Job opportunities post-release
  • Social prospects post-release (friends, family, intimate relationships)
  • Access to drugs

Show question

Question

What did Gillis et al. (1998) find in their study?

Show answer

Answer

Gillis et al. (1998) demonstrated how offenders who managed to find some form of employment within six months of their initial release had fewer convictions than those who didn't. 

Show question

Question

What is a problem with studies demonstrating rates of recidivism?

Show answer

Answer

They fail to establish a true cause and effect.

Show question

Question

What are some alternatives to custodial sentencing?

Show answer

Answer

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) 
  • Counselling
  • Drug rehabilitation program
  • Skills training
  • Education opportunities
  • Job opportunities post-release

Show question

Question

What are the main issues preventing reform of the current punishment system?

Show answer

Answer

Public opinion and the government's overall reluctance to invest money in the prison system. 

Show question

Question

Are recidivism rates in the UK dropping or increasing as time goes on?

Show answer

Answer

They are dropping in the UK as time goes on 

Show question

Question

Why would an inability to find a job after serving a prison sentence cause someone to re-offend?

Show answer

Answer

It is frustrating and inspires a sense of hopelessness in the person, and they may re-offend to either fund their lifestyle or to act out their frustration. They need money to live, and if a job is unwilling to hire them, they will have to find another way to pay for themselves. 

Show question

Question

What is a custodial sentence used for?

Show answer

Answer

Custodial sentencing is used to punish, rehabilitate, and generally deter undesirable behaviours in society. 

Show question

Question

What does a custodial sentence do for society?

Show answer

Answer

It demonstrates to society that certain behaviours are unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the eyes of the law, and it provides both a sense of deterrence and a sense of safety, for some. 

Show question

Question

If someone has a problem with addiction to drugs, and they cannot fund this or have no access to services to help them with it after serving a custodial sentence, are they going to re-offend?

Show answer

Answer

Potentially, yes. 

Show question

60%

of the users don't pass the Recidivism quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.