How Effective Are Various Methods in Reducing Recidivism

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Prison, non-custodial sentences and rehabilitation seem all failed in reducing recidivism; however, there is little and limited evidence to support non-custodial sentences, as well as some people think if rehabilitation could be implemented effectively, it would work.

Although the advantage of prison is keeping our society from dangerous people, when it comes to reducing recidivism rate, the effect of prison is disappointing. The public usually think that imprisonment is safer for communities; however, it appears powerless to deter inmates from committing crime again. In the article, “Study shows building prisons did not prevent repeat crimes”, Fox Butterfield (2002) cites a large-scale study of recidivism from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which investigated up to 272,111 former prisoners in 15 states during the first three years after being released. It found that 67% of inmates broke the law again in three years right after their release in 1994. It is surprised that it does not make any difference to recidivism rate which was studied in 1960’s, and it is even 5% higher than the study done in 1983. In addition, it indicated that the more rearrest records a criminal has, the higher recidivism rate he has. The inmates who have more than 15 prior arrests have 82.1% of recidivism rate.

Nevertheless, according to Emily Kingham’s article (2006), she believes that prison forces offenders to regret and reflect on their behaviour; as for the reason that criminals cannot reject the temptation of committing new crime is because of inadequate provided support. In spite of this, some experts have admitted that prison does not work in terms of reducing recidivism rate (Considering the alternatives 1978; Finckenauer 1988).

Some limited evidence has shown that non-custodial sentences may decrease recidivism; regardless of some experts being sceptical about their desired achievements. On the one hand, alternative sentences can help government save money and...
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