Recidivism

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Recidivism — the act of repeating an undesirable behavior despite having suffered negative consequences for that behavior — is most often associated with criminal behavior and substance abuse. RAND research explores how to reduce reoffending among former convicts in the adult and juvenile justice systems.

  • Prisoners gather around a computer following a graduation ceremony from a computer coding program at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California April 20, 2015

    Report

    Higher Education Programs in Prison Reduce Recidivism

    Aug 28, 2019

    Evidence shows that correctional education programs are effective—and cost-effective—at improving employment outcomes for participants and at helping to keep them from returning to prison. But given limited budgets, how can the long-term funding of these programs be sustained?

  • Tanya Beverly is part of a program that diverts people with mental illness out of the county jail and into supportive housing, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

    Essay

    Supportive Housing Can Help Keep People with Mental Illness Out of Jail

    Feb 27, 2020

    Hundreds of thousands of people with serious mental illnesses cycle in and out of American jails every year. In Los Angeles, some of them are getting diverted into a supportive housing program where they can get the treatment they need. And the results are promising.

Explore Recidivism

  • Greeting new colleague

    Research Brief

    What Policies Are Most Effective at Incentivizing Employers to Hire Ex-Offenders?

    Ex-offenders are less likely to be hired than members of other disadvantaged groups, and former felons with poor economic outcomes are more likely to return to criminal activity. A survey of 100 employers examined how they responded to incentives to hire people with felony criminal records.

    Feb 8, 2018

  • Prospective candidates waiting for a job interview

    Report

    How to Incentivize Employers to Hire Ex-Offenders

    People with criminal records are marginalized in the labor market. What policies might incentivize employers to hire them? Some options include tax credits and replacement guarantees if an ex-offender proves to be unsuitable once hired.

    Jan 15, 2018

  • Report

    Report

    Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act: Fiscal Year 2015–2016 Report

    This annual report to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors evaluates the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act, which offers programs to high-need juvenile probationers and at-risk youths.

    Aug 18, 2017

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Why Prison Education Matters

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, our panel of experts discuss the costs and benefits of using education to stop the prison revolving door, and the effectiveness of programs like The Last Mile, which prepares inmates for reentry by providing them with marketable skills.

    Apr 6, 2017

  • Police officers in riot gear stand outside Winson Green prison after a serious disturbance broke out, in Birmingham, Britain, December 16, 2016

    Commentary

    UK Prisons Are in 'Crisis,' So What Can Be Done to Improve Performance?

    Prisons in the UK are experiencing record numbers of suicides and other violent incidents, as well as staff shortages. Policymakers working on prison reform need more effective ways to measure the performance of prison programs.

    Feb 20, 2017

  • Inmates study during their class at the Taconic Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, New York, April 8, 2016

    Commentary

    Support for Postsecondary Education in Prison

    Correctional educational programs can reduce incarceration costs and recidivism. But it's critical that former inmates can connect with reentry services in the community to complete their education.

    Dec 15, 2016

  • Multimedia

    Why Correctional Education Matters

    RAND research on correctional education explores the effects on recidivism and post-release employment outcomes, as well as its cost-effectiveness.

    Dec 12, 2016

  • Handcuffed man standing in a courtroom

    Commentary

    Drug Dependence: Treatment Over Incarceration

    Drug dependence imposes significant costs to society and traditional criminal justice responses like imprisonment do not reduce crime. More quality research on alternative sanctions could help police, prosecutors, and judges expand their options while helping users get treatment.

    Oct 3, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Study on Alternatives to Coercive Sanctions as Response to Drug Law Offences and Drug-Related Crimes: Final Report

    This study aims to map alternatives to coercive sanctions (ACS) for drug law offences and drug-related crimes that are available under the law in each EU member state and describe the use of these sanctions in practice.

    Sep 8, 2016

  • Report

    Report

    Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act: Fiscal Year 2014–2015 Report

    This annual report to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors evaluates the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act, which offers programs to high-need juvenile probationers and at-risk youths.

    Aug 10, 2016

  • Report

    Report

    The payment by results Social Impact Bond pilot at HMP Peterborough: Final process evaluation report

    RAND Europe was commissioned to evaluate the development, implementation and operation of the 'Social Impact Bond' implemented at HMP Peterborough. This report provides evidence and key lessons on the operation of this funding model.

    Feb 26, 2016

  • An open prison cell door

    Commentary

    Does Intervention or Investment Innovate? Social Impact Bonds at the Close of the Peterborough Prison Pilot

    There is limited evidence to support the assumption that social impact bonds offer a particularly effective way to spur innovation in service provision and will only have beneficial effects.

    Jan 25, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington, January 12, 2016

    Blog

    State of the Union 2016: Insights on Obama's Last Address

    RAND research, analysis, and expertise provide context for many of the issues discussed in President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address, including the threat of ISIS, global climate change, and bringing peace to Syria.

    Jan 13, 2016

  • A student raises his hand during a class at the California Institution for Men in Chino, California

    Essay

    The Case for Correctional Education in U.S. Prisons

    Inmates who participate in any kind of educational program behind bars are up to 43 percent less likely to reoffend and return to prison. They also appear to be far more likely to find a job after their release.

    Jan 3, 2016

  • picking up trash in park

    Project

    Evaluating the World's First Social Impact Bond

    A process evaluation of a new funding mechanism implemented at a prison in the east of England, whereby private investors covered the costs of delivering public services to offenders on release from prison, provides evidence and key lessons on the operation of social impact bonds.

    Dec 18, 2015

  • Jerome Boone shakes hands with members of the audience after graduating from a computer coding program at San Quentin State Prison in California, April 20, 2015

    Content

    The Impact of Correctional Education

    Policymakers are considering how to reduce mass incarceration in the United States. Correctional education programs can help reduce recidivism and improve post-release employment outcomes. This saves taxpayers money.

    Nov 10, 2015

  • Young man in handcuffs

    Report

    Los Angeles County Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act: Fiscal Year 2013–2014

    Overall, juvenile offenders and at-risk youth in Los Angeles who participated in evidence-based programs and services showed more positive outcomes (e.g., lower arrest rates) than a comparison group.

    Jun 24, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Previously Removed Immigrants Are More Likely to Be Rearrested After Leaving Jail

    Unauthorized immigrants who previously have been removed from the United States are more than 2.5 times more likely to be rearrested after leaving jail, and are likely to be rearrested much more frequently than those who have never been removed.

    Dec 16, 2014

  • A man is hand-cuffed by the New York Police Department before New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square

    Journal Article

    Previously Removed Immigrants Are More Likely to Be Rearrested After Leaving Jail

    Unauthorized immigrants who previously have been removed from the United States are more than 2.5 times more likely to be rearrested after leaving jail, and are likely to be rearrested much more frequently than those who have never been removed.

    Dec 16, 2014

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs official arrests an undocumented immigrant

    Commentary

    Prior Removal and Recidivism

    President Obama's executive action on immigration includes a new program that targets immigration enforcement at those arrested for more serious offenses and those deemed to be risks to national security. Research shows that unauthorized immigrants who have been previously deported are more likely to be rearrested after jail release, so local public safety interests and federal immigration enforcement priorities may well align around immigrants with a record of prior removal.

    Dec 11, 2014