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.

  • Tanya Beverly at her apartment in Los Angeles, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

    Research Brief

    Supportive Housing Program Broke the Jail-to-Homeless Cycle and Mostly Paid for Itself

    The Just in Reach Pay for Success program diverted people with a history of homelessness from Los Angeles County jails into permanent supportive housing. It achieved a one-year housing stability rate of 82 percent. And most of its costs were offset by a reduction in the use of other county services.

    Aug 16, 2022

  • A man shakes a woman's hand at a job fair in Clarksville, Tennessee, March 6, 2020, photo by Casey Williams/Clarksville Now

    Research Brief

    A More Accurate Way to Predict Recidivism Risk in Background Checks

    Roughly 30 percent of people in the United States have criminal histories, so exclusions resulting from background checks can foreclose job and other opportunities for many. But what if it were possible to show that some people pose a low risk of recidivism?

    Jan 6, 2022

Explore Recidivism

  • 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

  • News Release

    News Release

    Community Justice Center in San Francisco Is Associated with Lower Rearrest Rates

    San Francisco opened the Community Justice Center in 2009 to serve the city's Tenderloin district and adjacent neighborhoods. Those arrested for an eligible offense in the Center catchment area after it opened were 8.9 to 10.3 percent less likely to be rearrested within one year.

    Oct 8, 2014

  • A gavel and handcuffs

    Report

    Community Justice Center in San Francisco Is Associated with Lower Rearrest Rates

    San Francisco opened the Community Justice Center in 2009 to serve its Tenderloin district and adjacent neighborhoods. Those arrested for an eligible offense in the Center catchment area after it opened were 8.9 to 10.3 percent less likely to be rearrested within one year.

    Oct 8, 2014

  • Offenders read and write papers inside the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary library located in the Darrington Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice men's prison in Rosharon, Texas

    Commentary

    Using Education to Stop the Prison Revolving Door

    Providing education and vocational training to inmates is a cost-effective way to reduce recidivism rates, thus shrinking prison populations and easing the strain on prison budgets. Education is far less expensive than incarceration.

    Sep 30, 2014

  • An adult classroom

    Commentary

    The State of Washington and Its Focus on Rehabilitation

    California can learn a great deal from the state of Washington, which has implemented a series of reforms focused on rehabilitation—on diverting offenders to treatment and other options and making serving time in prison the last option.

    Sep 16, 2014

  • Yes and no boxes on a clipboard

    Commentary

    If You Want Ex-Cons to Be 'Productive Members of Society,' Ban the Box

    When an inmate is released, you often hear Americans say that he's “paid his debt” and can now become “a productive member of society.” But the reality is ex-cons pay for their crimes long after sentences end. On the outside, the stigma of incarceration makes it extremely difficult to land a job.

    Sep 5, 2014