This paper will focus on recidivism in United States. Key words: Criminal, justice, recidivism and incarceration. Recidivism in Criminal Justice Introduction Recidivism is the relapse into criminal activity and is measured by the return of former prisoner to prison for a new offence that may or not be related to the former offence. Rates of recidivism are the reflection of the degree to which released inmates have been rehabilitated and the purpose of the rehabilitative programs in correcting prisoners and reconciling them with the society. In US, it is estimated that two thirds of released inmates will be re-incarcerated within three years. Recidivism in US accounts for the high costs in terms of safety of the public and high costs incurred in the re-arrest, process of prosecution and imprisonment for the offenders. The high rates of recidivism also lead to overwhelming social costs to the communities and the family of the individual offender. The effect of incarceration on offender recidivism in America is a major concern in the criminal justice system and the people concerned with public safety and the cost effectiveness of putting convicted offenders in prison. However, there is divided opinion on the view on people advocating for longer sentences and those proposing shorter sentences for the recidivism cases. The people advocating for longer sentences assume that longer incarceration will reduce the cases of crime as the offender cannot reoffend while incapacitated. The long periods of incarceration will discourage the released offenders from committing additional crimes and the fact that they are aware of the long sentence will discourage the offenders from repeating an offence. Those for advocating shorter sentences are of the view that longer imprisonments may increase recidivism. The objective of this research paper is to examine the relationship between recidivism rates and the length of incarceration. The research will focus on the effect of incarceration on the behavior of the convicted offenders after the release of the offenders in US. Literature Review In 2008, there was approximately a population of 2,310,984 inmates held in federal or state prisons in United States. 1,540,805 of the population were serving a state sentence under state jurisdiction. There was 0.8% increase of sentenced prisoners from 2007 to 2008. According to a study carried out in United States in 2003, seven in every ten prisoners released were likely to return to jail. Researches done on the effects of incarceration on recidivism indicate that there is no impact of incarceration on those who serve sentences in jail. However, there are some factors that are likely to influence people who serve jail terms and that lead to recidivism. These factors are independent variables and include the substance addiction, mental illness and readjustment to society after release. In 2002, 50 % of the jail inmates in United States were held for drug as well as violent offences. The Bipartisan Commission on safety and abuse carried out a study on United States prisons and reported that in any given day; more than two million people are incarcerated in United States. According to the report, African Americans are imprisoned at a higher rate, seven times higher than the whites, and the Hispanics at a rate three times
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