Strategies to Decrease Recidivism

In criminal justice, recidivism is one of the most basic ideas. It refers to an individual’s relapse into criminal activity following the imposition of sanctions or completing an intervention program for a previous offence. It is also described as any illegal conduct that results in a someone being detained, convicted again, or sentenced to prison with or without a fresh term of imprisonment within three years of being released from incarceration (Bales et al., 2017). Recidivism is a significant problem in many countries, including the United States. However, some measures have been shown to reduce recidivism in both adolescents and adults. The use of education to reduce recidivism is a crucial component of many of the most effective techniques. Therefore, this paper will describe strategies to decrease recidivism upon an inmate’s release from prison.

When analyzing what works to reduce recidivism, it is essential to start with assessing the risks and requirements of the individual in question. First, there should be an early assessment of the risks and needs of the inmate. Which inmates are most in danger of reoffending must be identified and targeted for intervention. It can be accomplished through the use of an objective risk assessment. A criminogenic needs assessment should also be conducted on convicts who have been perceived as being in danger of reoffending, during which components that might have added to their lawbreaker activity are highlighted (Jackson, 2022). Staff members at prisons and jails can more successfully build a recovery program that assists each convict with planning for discharge from the prison. It can be done through identifying who is at risk and developing a unique needs assessment profile for each individual in their care.

Secondly, there should be an improvement in substance abuse treatment programs. Drug offences are one of the most common grounds for incarceration in the United States, accounting for over one-third of all such cases. In Wyoming, for example, drug-related charges accounted for 17 percent of all arrests made in 2017 (Jackson, 2022). Even if each of those arrests did not result in jail, the total number of inmates with primary mental health needs is still significant. Treatment reduces recidivism by double digits for these offenders compared to the general prison population, whether it takes the form of a postponed sentence while the litigant is in ongoing drug therapy or as rigorous treatment while in jail. Recidivism can be reduced most effectively by intervening early and providing substantial support while in prison. Such support should continue after the parolee is reintegrated into the community for the best results.

Lastly, employment programs can also play a key role in reducing recidivism. During their time behind bars, inmates can participate in job training programs that help them land a job when they are freed. To avoid re-entering the criminal fray, ex-convicts must find a job upon their release (Byrne, 2020). Released prisoners are more likely to turn to illegal activity for financial support if they do not have access to employment opportunities. This connection between post-release employment and recidivism has been documented repeatedly in studies. However, employment is essential for various reasons that go beyond the necessity of a paycheck (Powers et al., 2017). Additionally, employment helps to keep people from engaging in illegal activities, provides a non-stigmatized social role, and provides a sense of stability.

In conclusion, many of the most successful techniques rely heavily on education to reduce recidivism. Besides, it can be reduced through an improvement in the substance abuse treatment programs. However, there is also the need for early assessment of the risks and conditions of the inmate. Furthermore, employment programs should be incorporated in jails and after release to assist the individuals land on a job opportunity after release from prison or jail.


Bales, W. D., Nadel, M., Reed, C., & Blomberg, T. G. (2017). Recidivism and inmate mental illness. International Journal of Criminology and Sociology, 6, 40-51. Web.

Byrne, J. M. (2020). The effectiveness of prison programming: A review of the research literature examining the impact of federal, state, and local inmate programming on post-release recidivism. Federal Probation Journal, 84, 3.

Jackson, S. (n.d.). (2022). 4 proven ways to reduce recidivism. TReND Wyoming. Web.

Powers, R. A., Kaukinen, C., & Jeanis, M. (2017). An examination of recidivism among inmates released from a private reentry center and public institutions in Colorado. The Prison Journal, 97(5), 609-627. Web.

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1. LawBirdie. "Strategies to Decrease Recidivism." September 3, 2023.


LawBirdie. "Strategies to Decrease Recidivism." September 3, 2023.