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Research paper – Recidivism

The prison population in the United States has reportedly increased over the last 30 years . According to the Pew Center on the States (2011), one in 100 adults in America was incarcerated in 2008 (this is a Wow fact provided here… DOD). Alarmingly (nice adjective), another study indicated that one in 31 adults was either locked up in a detention facility or serving out their sentences on probation in 2009 (201 1). Clearly, an increase in incarceration rates results in the increased cost of incarceration; this results in increased costs to the taxpayers or reduction in services in other areas to compensate.

As governments face budgeting challenges, a decrease in recidivism could potentially result in a decrease in such costs. Government officials would be remiss to not consider options that could potentially result in increased public fatty and decreased cost to the tax payers. Statement of the Problem Purpose Although numerous studies have been conducted on recidivism (good synthesis of the secondary data) (nice use of PAPA), it is important that studies that seek to reduce recidivism are conducted and successful tactics are explored.

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It is simply not enough to state there is a problem; public officials must act on potential solutions. The problem is that there is not enough known about rehabilitation programs to ascertain if they are truly effective and which are the most significant in decreasing recidivism. (the problem tenement must be just that a specific problem statement… Remember to specifically state it in this section early and then continue with the discussion of support. Researching programs that are successful in ensuring individuals do not return to a life of crime is essential.

Two avenues of research can be explored, both of which are interconnected: discovering the impetus behind individuals committing crimes again and discovering programs that deter individuals from committing crime again. For instance, in 2002, 77 percent of jail inmates indicated they were involved in either drugs or alcohol at the time f the offense for which they were incarcerated . A high probability exists that these inmates are leaving detention facilities to return to a life of crime to support or as a result of their drug or alcohol addiction.

Addressing a substance dependence problem while incarcerated may deter them from returning to such an environment upon their release. Especially in this time of economic recession, public administrators have more pressure than ever to cut costs without risking the safety of the citizens they serve. Knowing what factors are indicators of recidivism and what orgasm are successful at preventing recidivism will assist detention officials in identifying those at risk and implementing effective programming.

Reduced Costs and enhanced public safety are a win-win for all. Researching the factors that influence recidivism will have far-reaching impacts. Detention operations at the local, state, and national levels will be able to glean information from this research to tailor their inmate programming. Studying the rates at which inmates reactivate is not enough; empirical data on which public administrators can rely to create and implement effective strategies just be collected.

Research Problem The Polk County Sheriffs Office, located in Winter Haven, Florida, is not only responsible for the deployment of law enforcement services, but also for operating the county jails – Central County Jail and South County Jail . In 1997, in attempt to reduce the occurrence of crime, the Polk County Sheriffs Office implemented a proactive approach to fighting crime that incorporated multiple types of policing – traditional, community-oriented, problem- oriented, and data-driven – called PROCOM, an acronym that stands for Proactive Community Attack on Problems (2011).

As a result of this policing strategy, between 1 997 and 2010, the crime rate in the Polk County Sheriffs Office service area decreased 55. 5 percent (2011). The average number of crimes per 100 residents in 201 0 was 2. 97; a stark contrast to the 6. 68 crimes per 100 residents reported in 1997. However, the rate at which crime is decreasing has slowed drastically. Between 1997 and 2003, the crime rate decreased a total of 46 percent; between 2003 and 2010, the crime rate decreased only 17 percent (2011).

At this slowed rate of decrease, the Polk County Sheriffs Office must explore new tactics, to combine with the ones already implemented, in order to maintain a decrease in crime. As the Polk County Sheriffs Office is also responsible for the detention of county inmates, the recidivism rate of inmates in their jails is one that could be impacted and should be explored. With a daily average inmate population of nearly 2,200 , effective strategies could have a significant impact on the rate of crime. Don’t cover up the research problem… Member another solid statement needs to be provided here with the population subjects you wish to study. You have done a great job of providing this, but one statement to fold it all together is needed. Research Questions In order to address the issue Of recidivism of Polk County inmates, research must be conducted to determine the factors that impact the recidivism rate of these inmates. Specifically, the issues that will be explored include past criminal history, substance abuse programs, faith-based programs, and re- entry programs.

Providing empirical data will assist the Polk County Sheriffs Office in identifying which inmates are likely to reactivate and what programs work best at preventing recidivism. Recidivism is defined by the Pew Center on the States (201 1) as the rate at which offenders return to prison. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (2002) takes a more specific, four-prong approach to recidivism: “re-arrest, reconvention, resistance to prison, and return to prison with or without a new sentence” over a three-year time span after a prisoner has been released.

The latest recidivism study conducted by the Florida Department of Corrections (2003) measured inmates over a six year period. For purposes of this study, recidivism will be defined as the rate in which individuals that have previously been arrested in Polk County, Florida, are subsequently arrested for a separate crime or for a violation of the terms f their initial sentence. The first research question to be explored is as follows: Is the recidivism rate of Polk County inmates impacted by their criminal history?

Criminal history is based on criminal records that are maintained in local, state, and federal databases that document an individual’s prior criminal offenses for which they were convicted . It is important to study not only the number of crimes for which an individual was convicted, but also the type of crimes. For instance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (2002) determined that the highest rate of re-arrest was among individuals who had committed property crimes burglary, theft, fraud).

Answering this research question will encompass the consideration of the number of separate crimes and types of crimes (property versus persons and violent versus non-violent) for which an individual was arrested. Another research question to be explored is: Is the recidivism rate of Polk County inmates inversely affected by the involvement in substance abuse programs while incarcerated? The Bureau of Justice Statistics (2005) reported that incarcerated individuals who met the substance abuse or dependence criteria established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th De. Were n. vow times more likely to have at least three prior convictions. Different types of treatment programs were evaluated, including residential, counseling, detoxification, self-help, peer counseling and educational (2005). For purposes of this project, substance abuse programs that will be evaluated for efficiency will include educational and counseling programs, focusing on alcohol and drug abuse and dependency, which are offered to an inmate while incarcerated. The next research question is: Is the recidivism rate of Polk County inmates inversely affected by the participation in faith-based programs while incarcerated?

This question will analyze the effectiveness of programs that educate and encourage inmates to pursue a crime-free lifestyle through religious and morality-based programming. Past studies have been conducted of faith-based programs that also included a life-skills training component . However, this particular research study will only focus on a program where the main component is faith-based concepts, regardless of whether or not life-skills training is included. The final research question to explore is: Is the recidivism rate of Polk County inmates inversely affected by re-entry programs?

This is perhaps the least studied of the variables previously discussed. However, the studies that have been conducted consider reentry programs to involve locating services that meet an individual inmate’s need, ensuring community-involved supervision, and potentially providing rehabilitative services – basically, this involves tailoring a plan for each inmate . For purposes of this study, the effectiveness of community-organized groups that specialize in offender reentry will be analyzed.

Scope Empirical data available through previously conducted studies on recidivism identify countless factors that impact recidivism good synthesis of the studies. However, the purpose of this research is to determine specifically how the Polk County Sheriffs Office can implement strategies to reduce the crime rate through a reduction in recidivism. Therefore, factors over which the Polk County Sheriffs Office has control and those that will help identify the inmates who are the most likely to reactivate are the most vital. Consequently, the first research question will help identify the inmates who at the highest need for intervention.

The subsequent variables are programs hat the Sheriffs Office should consider continuing or developing, once the research determines which are most effective. A literature review of previously conducted studies will be conducted to determine indicators of recidivism and the success or failure of similar programs. Additionally, specific data regarding booking, incarceration, and program assignment of Polk County inmates Will be analyzed to determine the success of the current substance abuse, faith-based, and reentry programs.

Research may be limited due to the unavailability of specific data regarding programs in which the inmates were involved and the inability to equally access criminal history information that will indicate whether or not an inmate was arrested in another jurisdiction besides Polk County. END OF FIRST SUBMISSION BEGINNING OF SECOND SUBMISSION Literature Review Dependent Variable: Recidivism Rate Broadly defined, recidivism occurs when an individual who has already been punished for a crime commits another crime . Therefore, recidivism rate refers to the percentage of former inmates who reactivate, commit another crime.

Although the broad define action seems to offer a simple explanation of recidivism, in actuality, measuring recidivism is a very complex undertaking. Many factors must be taken into consideration to determine the exact factors that compile the formula for determining exactly what an entity wishes to measure: type of inmates to be studied (jail, prison, etc. ), period of time to be studied, step in the system that constitutes recidivism (arrest, conviction, incarceration), charges for new crime only or also for violations of the stipulation of release .

The key is to ensure the factors that are measured and calculated to determine the recidivism rate are clearly stated in the findings of the study. Doing so will provide a clear understanding and ensure leslies or programs are not initiated and implemented under false pretenses. While recidivism is accepted and understood in the broad sense of criminals refunding, the aforementioned factors of measurement vary greatly across state and national studies conducted on recidivism . Perhaps the most widely accepted recidivism studies conducted in the nation are those conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The primary function of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, as authorized by the Justice Systems Improvement Act of 1 979, is to gather, evaluate, and distribute data on criminal justice issues that are of vital importance to public administrators of all levels of government to assist in the fight against crime and perpetuate efficiency and fairness. In 1989, the Bureau of]justice Statistics (1989) conducted a study on recidivism of prisoners released in 1983. In 2002, the Bureau conducted a subsequent recidivism study of inmates released from prison in 1994.

These studies used the same methodologies, although the samples sizes differed from 11 states (in 1 983) to 15 states (in 1994). Their studies evaluated inmates released from state prison for three years following their release (in tooth 1983 and 1994) and measured whether the inmate was arrested again, convicted of a crime again, sentenced to prison for a new crime, or returned to prison for either a new crime or a violation of their initial release stipulations . These studies also provided details of the sample selection regarding their gender, ethnicity, age at release, prior arrests, and types of past charges.

These studies revealed that when evaluating reasserts alone, the percentage of recidivism increased from 62. 5% for inmates released in 1983 to 67. 5% for inmates released in 1994. When determining return to orison, the percentage of inmates increased from 41. 4% in 1983 to 51. 8% in 1994. Interestingly, however, when evaluating resurrections of the same inmates, the percentage remained stable at 46. 8% and 46. 9% respectively . The Pew Center on the States is a nonprofit organization affiliated with The Pew Charitable Trusts with a mission to enhance public policy by effecting solutions to policy issues each of the states may be experiencing.

In carrying out their purpose, they partnered with the Association of State Correctional Administrators to conduct a study that would provide an analysis of acidifies and would allow a comparison of states. Their study analyzed two groups of inmates released from prison – those released in 1 999 and those released in 2004 – and analyzed whether or not an individual was reconnected to prison either for a new crime or a violation of their release stipulations.

While the researchers attempted to gather information from all 50 states, only 33 responded with data regarding the inmates released in 1999 and only 41 states responded with information regarding prisoners released in 2004. The final results of their study concluded that the recidivism statistics, when assuring them by analyzing their overall return to incarceration, actually decreased slightly – from 45. 4% in 1999 to 43. 3% in 2004 (201 1). Responsible for the function of housing the State of Florist’s state prisoners, the Florida Department Of Corrections utilizes recidivism rates as a performance measurement .

As such, the Department of Corrections initiated a study to analyze recidivism rates based on two measures: conviction for a felony offense after a prisoner’s release (what they label as “roofless”) and return to prison for a new offense (what they label as “reinstatement”). Their sample group included nearly 100,000 inmates released from state custody in a six year period of time – between July 1 995 and June 2001. Their studies concluded that 39. 9% of the prisoners studied were convicted on a felony offense after their initial release and that 25. % returned to prison for a new offense (2003). Clearly the details and results of recidivism studies vary significantly. The benefit of such studies is that the formula of measurement can be tailored to accomplish the needs of an individual entity. Independent Variable l: Criminal History In the previously mentioned recidivism studies conducted, both the Bureau f Justice Statistics and the Florida Department of Corrections analyzed the types of criminal charges for which the study population were incarcerated initially; the Bureau of Justice Statistics also tracked the number of prior arrests .

Such research allowed for certain conclusions to be drawn regarding the likelihood of prisoners to reactivate upon their release. Such conclusions are imperative in tailoring the post-imprisonment stipulations to provide for the highest likelihood of success and lowest likelihood of recidivism. In the study of prisoners released in 1 994, the Bureau of Justice Statistics vided the study population into five categories based on the most severe crime for which they were imprisoned prior to their release: violent offenses, property offenses, drug offenses, public-order offenses, and other offenses .

In all four recidivism measurements the Bureau used, (whether the inmate was arrested again, convicted of a crime again, sentenced to prison for a new crime, or returned to prison for either a new crime or a violation of their initial release stipulations), the highest rate of recidivism occurred by prisoners who had been imprisoned for property crimes prior to their release. These crimes include burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, fraud, stolen property, and any other property crime. ) In the three years after their release, 73. % of these offenders were arrested again, the reconvention rate was 53. 4%, those who returned to incarceration for a new offense was 30. 5%, and those who returned to prison for any reason was 56. 4% Offenders in the study population who were in the violent crime category ranked the lowest rates in being arrested again, convicted again, and returning to prison because of a new offense. Given the nature of the Polk County Sheriffs Office responsibility in managing the local jail, the arrests measurement would be the most suitable for determining recidivism.

When analyzing the arrests rate alone, sans the other measurement factors the Bureau of Justice Statistics utilized, it is apparent in both Bureau of Justice Statistic studies that released offenders in the study group who had the greatest likelihood to be rearrested again were those who had committed motor vehicle thefts, burglaries, thefts, and robberies . The Bureau’s statisticians further deduced that these types of crimes are those motivated by money and that the lowest arrests rate was to associated with a want for monetary profit.

Independent Variable II: Substance Abuse Programming Fewer influences on crime are more apparent than substance abuse, as evidenced by statistical information widely available. In profiling jail inmates incarcerated in 2002, the Bureau of Justice Statistics determined that 24. 7% of the inmates were jailed for drug offenses, an increase from 22% six years prior . However, it must be noted that drug offenses in and of themselves are not the only indicators of substance abuse.

Individuals addicted to drugs and alcohol will often go to great lengths, committing other crimes, to support heir addiction When conducting their research on the jail inmates’ dependence or abuse of drugs and alcohol, the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated dependence or abuse based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition . Based on the criteria established therein, it was determined that 71 % of all convicted inmates met the criteria for dependence on or abuse of alcohol or drugs.

This group of inmates has twice the likelihood of other jailed individuals to have more than two prior sentences resulting in either probation or detention Another conclusion drawn by the Bureau of Justice Statistics is that 70% of inmates who were convicted for drug or property crimes were found to meet the dependence or abuse criteria, as compared to only 60% of inmates who committed violent and public order crimes. Exactly half of all convicted inmates in the Bureau’s study population admitted they were impaired by either drugs or alcohol at the time of the offense for which they were incarcerated.

While this statistic is alarming, it is a reduction from the 59% of inmates in 1996 who reported being impaired by a substance at the time of their offense. At the same time this particular statistic was Cecil inning, the percentage of inmates who had reportedly undergone any type of substance abuse treatment (including during incarceration, while on probation, self-help, abuse education, rehabilitation facility, and counseling) increased from 50. % in 1 996 to 58% in 2002 . Although more in-depth research would be necessary to provide a clear nexus between the two, the possibility exists that the substance abuse treatment has resulted in a decline in the percentage of offenders under the influence of a substance at the time of their defense and possibly even in the overall reduction in crime rate. Alcohol and drug abuse programs for inmates have proven success at reducing recidivism across the nation .

For example, the Longed Treatment Center, in Massachusetts, was the first detention facility in the united States to obtain accreditation through both the American Correctional Association (CA) and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARR). Of the more than 6,000 inmates who have graduated from this program, less than 8% have been known to reactivate .

Research conducted by Stephen Valve and Dennis Humphrey (2002) revealed that substance abuse treatment of incarcerated individuals resulted in the creased likelihood of drug use and of committing future crimes. Among other citations, Valve and Humphrey (2002) cite a Federal Bureau of Prisons survey that indicated that only 3. 3% of inmates who participated in a drug treatment program in its entirety would be arrested again in the first six months of their release, a considerable reduction from the 12. % of those who did not participate in such a program. Independent Variable Ill: Faith- Based Programming While in-depth research on the impact of faith-based programming is not as prevalent as the other variables already discussed, sufficient documentation s available to support the idea that recidivism rates can be positively affected by an inmate’s participation in and completion of faith-based programming.

Recognizing the lack of qualitative studies regarding the impact that religious, based education can have on the moral advancement of inmates, Swanson (2009) initiated a study to examine if effective and calculable results could be produced in inmates through the use of faith-based and life skills education. After her limited research of only a five participant study group, Swanson concluded that more research was warranted to actually establish the effect f faith-based programming on an inmate’s behavior upon release (2009).

Another study conducted on a small scale, in two prisons and one jail under the auspices of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, attempted to measure the effectiveness of faith-based programs that focus on character transformation through the introduction of religious education, moral instruction, and victim-centered edification .

The study population was 102 male prisoners whose voluntary participation and progress in a faith-based program called Restoring Peace was monitored through the administration of pre-test and a post-test The study attempted to measure the inmates progress through this 14-week program in the following areas: empathy, ability to forgive, spirituality, and forgiveness. While results of the measured factors between the pre-test and the post-test were minimal at best, the Texas Deep rodent of Criminal Justice tracked the activity of the 74 inmates who had participated in the program and been released as of December 31 , 2006.

The figures indicate that only 5. 4% of the released participants were re- incarcerated for committing another crime, compared to 7. 2% of the general population who were likely to return Regardless of the lack of scientific data, many Florida correctional facilities are attempting to utilize faith-based programming in an attempt to lower the recidivism rate in the State of Florida . It is hoped that in reducing the recidivism rate, the prison population will decrease, resulting in a cost savings to the tax payer.

A benefit of many faith-based programs is that they can be run at no or minimal cost to the taxpayers by utilizing volunteers from community-based groups . Specifically, Barnett (2009) cites that three correctional institutes in the State of Florida – Latte Correctional Institution, Hillsboro Correctional Institution, and Glades Correctional facility – have been designated as faith-based facilities.


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