Essay On How To Reduce Recidivism

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The concept of ‘recidivism’ is central to understanding the criminal justice system. Recidivism occurs when a person commits a crime again despite having been punished before. One of the main goals of the criminal justice system is to reduce recidivism but in fact longer sentences may increase the probability of recidivism (Griffiths & Cunningham, 2000). One reason is that the climate within a prison is not helpful to the inmate in making personal changes that can lead to reduced recidivism. However, psychologists are trying to develop intervention programmes that in fact lead to such personal changes so as to reduce recidivism.

Andrews and Bonta (1994) have given a list of factors that may increase recidivism rates. Firstly, offenders may lack the skills required for holding a job and therefore have to resort to crime to support themselves. Secondly, many of them are school dropouts. They therefore lack the social skills that are learnt in schools such as conflict resolution, empathy, and team building. Thirdly, they often belong to dysfunctional families where they do not get much …show more content…

Many of these programmes are based on the concept of ‘therapeutic communities’ (Jones, 1953). The core goal of these communities is to encourage a holistic living that lead to a healthier, more adaptive style of living. Personal responsibility is encouraged and peer group sharing is the key to promote social and psychological change. Therapeutic communities are based on the ‘living learning’ experience in which the participants join together and are a part of an intensive therapeutic community. One example of a prison-based therapeutic community is the 12-month ‘Stay’n Out program’ for male and female prisoners with substance abuse problems (Lipton, 1998). The program consists of three stages: (a) induction, (b) treatment, and (c) consolidation of treatment gains and re-entry into the

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