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Preventing Recidivism Through Comprehensive Intervention Strategies


Recidivism entails offenders relapsing into criminal behavior. Recidivism is a fundamental concept in the criminal justice system. Recidivists are people who commit crimes repeatedly. It means that even after being punished, a person commits the crime again. In other words, a recidivist has been habituated to commit a crime. For instance, John commits murder and gets imprisoned. After completing his sentence and leaving jail, he commits another murder. A recidivist is a person with enough courage to commit a crime repeatedly after being punished. They will commit a crime deliberately and repeatedly in a calculated manner. Recidivists are often considered aggressive and anti-social. Recidivism occurs due to various factors. These factors include economic, lifestyle, sociological, and personal factors. Numerous factors have been identified as contributing to recidivism in society, for example, inadequate skills necessary for employment, social stigmatization, and criminal peers. It is essential to note that recidivism is a human and financial burden on society, including the criminal justice system and its correction facilities. In a nutshell, recidivism means a person will commit a crime again after conviction. Based on the adverse effects of recidivism, it is essential to come up with an effective procedure for prevention. This paper will focus on a procedure to prevent recidivism.

According to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2018), facilitating the reintegration of offenders is a daunting and complex task. Also, it is often difficult to measure the impact of specific interventions. Reduced criminal recidivism is an ultimate indicator of effective and successful social reintegration programs. At the individual level, recidivism is deterred when offenders desist from crime. Desisting means an offender ceases to engage in crime and live a crime-free life. Significant life partnership, full-time employment, or acquisition of new skills are some factors associated with desistance from crime.

Although America is home to just about five percent of the people in the world, there are approximately twenty percent of imprisoned persons across the world. More than ninety-five percent of America’s 1.5 million individuals in various prisons will have to be released eventually. This release will happen even if those people have no chance of getting jobs. According to Yoon (2019), it is admirable that, courtesy of evidence-based policy reforms, the United States justice system has been targeted to ensure significant improvements in lowering recidivism rates. Unfortunately, more than a third of those leaving prison will find themselves incarcerated within three years.

Procedure to prevent recidivism

Research has shown that recidivism is a significant problem facing criminal justice systems worldwide. This calls for interventions to prevent recidivism. The proposed procedure will comprise the following:

Improving a defendant’s motivational factors- A crucial stage where recidivism can be prevented is during a defendant’s sentencing. The proposal here is that trust can be built between the defendant and the therapist, probation agent, attorney, judge, or other stakeholders as a strategy to change the defendant’s behavior. Jackson (2020) explained that building trust and motivation can be effective for defendants appearing in drug courts. Such defendant participation and engagement in the entire sentencing process will improve significantly if the defendant has personal interactions with the judge. This will, in turn, promote greater motivation levels to change the behavior that took a person to court to begin with. This implies that building relations and showing genuine interest in a person’s ability to succeed will help prevent harboring feelings of despair and doubt about the whole case process. Similarly, it will encourage the individual to participate in the case proceedings actively and might motivate them to do their best to avoid future arrests.

Assessing risks and needs early- It is essential to start by assessing an inmate’s needs and risks when considering what can effectively prevent recidivism. The first step is to determine the inmates with the highest risk of re-offending. According to Jackson (2020), an objective risk assessment can be done to achieve this. Also, inmates discovered to be at great risk of repeating an offense should be subjected to an assessment such as the criminogenic needs assessment. This assessment identifies what might have led to the inmate’s criminal conduct. The factors might include belonging to an anti-social peer group, mental health issues, alcohol or drug dependency, and prior criminal activity. If we determine who is at significant risk of re-offending and develop a special needs assessment profile, employees in prisons and jails will be able to develop an effective rehabilitation program that will prepare all inmates for release.

Educating inmates- Education can be integrated into incarceration as a practical approach to preventing recidivism. The idea here is that education opportunities can be integrated into prisons and jails to reduce recidivism in adults and juveniles alike. According to Jackson (2020), using education to prevent recidivism can work because inmates who enroll in educational programs in jail or prison can have a lower recidivism rate. Recidivism can be significantly reduced by even the very basic education, for instance, basic skills and adult literacy. Inmates can be allowed to finish their high school diplomas, acquire valuable technical and trade skills, and go for higher education while incarcerated. Educational options for inmates will allow them to acquire crucial employment skills or connections that will culminate in jobs after prison. If an inmate can successfully find their way into the outside world and start a meaningful life, they will have a good reason not to re-offend. It is essential to note that an inmate who goes back into society without the skills to thrive is a natural candidate to commit a crime to survive. In other words, such a person does not have anything else to do.

Wetzel (2023) explained that according to reliable research on jail education and work programs, there is a positive effect on the recidivism rate, pay, and job opportunities for inmates. More precisely, published research shows that the likelihood of recidivism has reduced by 14.8% thanks to the prison workforce and education programs. This indicates that investing in prison-based education and workforce training programs can produce both positive economic returns and safer communities. Across the United States, there are various programs whose outcomes are proof that post-secondary education in prison can be transformative. For example, according to Yoon (2019), California has Project Rebound for students in the system at California State University. It helps such students obtain degrees. Students in Project Rebound have high graduation rates. Magee (2021) explained that recidivism rates can be reduced by formal education. Formal education implies much of the learning emanates from books or other learning materials delivered by trained teachers.

Improving alcohol and substance abuse treatment- Many people are incarcerated due to drug offenses. While education can reduce recidivism effectively, it would also be crucial to improve alcohol and substance abuse treatment for those incarcerated. As explained by Jackson (2020), Substance abuse treatment programs in jails and prisons can, therefore, be effective in recidivism reduction. Treatment can take the form of a deferred sentence while the individual is in inpatient drug treatment or intensive treatment while in jail. Drug users deserve help, including those in prison for drug-related crimes. According to Careless (2022), an individual who uses illicit drugs is more likely to commit a crime, and it is common for people who use drugs or alcohol to commit many offenses, including violent crimes. Therefore, inmates with alcohol and substance abuse problems can be provided with counseling and other addiction treatment services as a logical way to prevent recidivism. This would explain why such support is being actively provided by many jurisdictions.

Supporting those seeking jobs- After incarceration, people usually go to look for a job to turn around their lives. According to Careless (2022), a released inmate with a good job is less likely to repeat a crime and go back to prison. This would explain the decision of many correctional facilities and authorities to take proactive measures to help such inmates secure reliable jobs after completing their jail terms. For instance, Connecticut, California, and Virginia are launching unique collaborative projects to furnish people taking part in re-entry programs with tools and know-how to start the job-hunting journey before release. As explained by Nickerson (2023), barriers to employment and integration can be removed by giving inmates the skills necessary to secure jobs in the outside world.


From the above discussion, it is clear that recidivism is a severe problem that requires addressing. Failure to prevent recidivism means that an individual will re-offend after conviction. Recidivism is a crucial component of understanding any criminal justice system. However, it might be challenging to determine why individuals re-offend and measure how often they do so. It is essential to understand that various factors contribute to recidivism. For example, peer pressure might make a person to re-offend. Lack of an alternative means of survival might also contribute to recidivism. Hope should, however, not be lost in the fight against recidivism. That being said, recidivism can be prevented by providing adequate treatment for inmates before they are released back into the outside world. A proper education should be provided to offenders so that after leaving prison, they can find a means of livelihood. Also, society must change its attitude towards an offender. In other words, we should be willing to give offenders a second chance after they are released from prison.


Careless, J. (2022). 5 ways to reduce recidivism. Retrieved from

Jackson, S. (2020). 4 proven ways to reduce recidivism. Retrieved from

Magee, G. (2021). Education Reduces Recidivism. Technium Soc. Sci. J.16, 175.

Nickerson, C. (2023). Recidivism: definition, causes, & examples. Retrieved from

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2018). The prevention of recidivism and the social reintegration of offenders. Retrieved from

Wetzel, H. (2023). Research finds prison education programs reduce recidivism. Retrieved from,extra%20%24131%20in%20quarterly%20wage.

Yoon, H. (2019). Back to school: a common-sense strategy to lower recidivism. Retrieved from


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