Research on the Recidivism Rates in the U.S. and Possible Ways to Tackle the Problem

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Too often we hear of ex-convicts getting arrested for another crime, and this phenomenon leaves many questions for America’s criminal justice system. The recidivism rates for this country has plagued our criminal justice system for too long, which is why I choose to research this topic further, in hopes of finding answers and solutions. As I am major in criminal justice this topic peaks my interest because I want to know why we have so many youths consistently going in and out of jails, and what we can do to stop it. I plan to answer the question why ex-offenders are not finding the help they need, and what can we do to fix our criminal justice system so that people don’t reenter the system as often, as I continue my research.

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Today’s criminal justice system is shaped by long sentences, harsh punishments, but we do not offer many services so that this doesn’t happen again. Instead we lock away them away from society with other criminals, and then release them without any sort of help and hope for the best. The United States Sentencing Commission released a study in 2017 showing that the recidivism rate among drug offenders is currently at 66. 7%, which means that about every 2 out 3 ex-offenders will be rearrested. With numbers this high it is obvious that something needs to be done. Finding a solution to this problem is my goal with my research paper. It is important to not only identify the problem and it causes, but also to find solutions. For this topic, I will have to research if there is a certain age group of ex-offenders that re-enter the system more than others, as well as, taking a look into certain crimes that people are consistently being charged with such drug offenses, so that I can fully understand what the problem is, what’s causing this problem, and who is it affects the most.

For the research that I have already conducted, I have concluded that the most efficient way to reduce recidivism rates would be through better and more rehibition centers and services for ex-offenders who have been charged with a drug related crime. This is best supported through a study reported by the Center for Economic and Policy Research by John Schmitt a senior economist, Kris warner a program assistant, and a Sarika Gupta a research intern, showed that effects that releasing drug offenders into rehabilitation services or probation would save the government “$23,000 to $25,000 per inmate per year. ” The same study also reported that “50 percent reduction in non-violent-offender inmates would save the federal government about $2. 1 billion per year. ”. This study best supports my conclusion by showing how much money this would save the government and would reduce recidivism rates across the board because inmates would be getting the help they need instead of taking up space in a jail cell. This study goes over the budget and cost of rehabilitation services and programs, in comparison to how much money the government would spend to keep them in jail, as well as the recidivism rates and they ways that they would be affected if more of these programs were implemented.

Even though there is an abundant amount of research to support rehabilitation services, many states continue to cut the budget for them. California for example, one of our nation’s most densely populated states is just one of many to make drastic cuts to its rehabilitation and vocational training services for state prisons. An LA Times article October 17 of 2009 reported that the State cut 250 million a year from rehabilitation service for inmates. This means that many of the programs the State offered for its prison inmates either did not existed or had little money to function. States such as California are faced with making tough decision and are looking for areas to cut money, but the problem is that state legislators are not seeing the difference that these programs are making. This article supported the States decision to cut these programs because they felt like the amount of money it takes to run these programs is not worth the outcome. State legislators believe that there is cheaper alternative to reduce recidivism rates. State governments are not giving programs like the ones in California to work, things take time, but unfortunately for a state government time means money.

We’ve all heard the phrase “if you can’t do the time, then don’t do the crime” and as nice as that sounds, it is not always true. Drug offenders still commit crimes but the problem with treating them like any other criminal is that they are the most likely to be rearrested for the same crime, which causes for recidivism rates to sky-rocket. Recidivism rates in America are causing for tax payer dollars to be used to pay for the consequences of an ex-convict action when instead we could be saving money and finding them help. It would be better for an ex-convict to learn from their crime rather than serving time.

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