Despite its social and economic significance, international comparison of recidivism rates have turned problematic. The key challenge is that various countries have unique ways of estimating recidivism. Some countries only consider re-convictions only, while others holds that it is re-imprisonment only, or a combination of both. Additionally, the length of time which offenders are released significantly varies with the country, which makes data collection a problematic. As a result, researchers exercise a lot of caution and restraints when comparing the data. However, America has presented the highest rates of recidivism as compared to many nations across the world.
In America, the rates vary with the state and county. In the state of Indiana, Lake County, leads in the recidivism statistics. The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), workers Walton, Malone, and Clemmons, reports that 43% of children between the ages of 0 to 7 years old who are reunified back with their families are sent back to DCFS care within fifteen months of case closure.
Lake County’s recidivism rates are high compared to other counties within the state of Indiana that have a smaller or about the same population size. In 2017, Lake County, Indiana’s reported higher recidivism rates above Marion County. Currently, Lake County have several protocols when a Child In Need of Services (CHINS) case is initially opened. The initial step is to contact the parent and make them aware of the allegation, if removal of the children is warranted then a court date is set within twenty four hours, at the court hearing, the parents are informed of services needed to be completed or started so that the child can be reunified with the family (Ministry of Justice, 2011). A Child and Family Team (CFTM) meeting is held with the parents, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), DCFS case manager, and all home based service providers. I have watched several different scenarios, professional, and personal while working with this population. In case, a case is closed and reopened within a fifteen month period, the case is returned to the DCFS case manager for services. A change is needed in the policy and procedure for this process (Ministry of Justice, 2011). Advisably, it is better to be proactive rather than reactive to the problems of the families in Lake County Indiana.
Research will be conducted in several areas, early prevention, parent intervention, team approach v/s one case worker, non-negotiables, emotional /mental /physical and practical practices. These outcomes can assist the families before crisis to help avoid having a CHINS case. The study also look at building and adding to the services currently in place for families. Additionally, more effective follow up after case closure to reduce recidivism rates is recommended. As professionals, we owe it to the children to try other ways of helping maintain stability. Preventative approach is the best strategy to handle recidivism.
The rates of recidivism is relatively high across the world. However, some nations and counties demonstrate startling figures in comparison. Securing accurate information has presented challenges considering the fact that each country has its own policies regarding recidivism. In Indiana, Lake County present the highest recidivism statistics. 43% of the population between 0 to 7 years old are taken back to DCFS in a period not longer than 15 months. To curb the challenge, approaches such as early prevention, parent intervention, and team approach v/s one case worker, non-negotiable, emotional /mental /physical and practical practices have been tried. The goal is to reduce the statistics and to ensure social order in the young population. Preventative approaches are deemed the most efficient and cost effective measure if dealing with recidivism among children.
The Impact of Recidivism
United States allocate a huge budge to corrections. Corrections in the United States is the fastest growing expenditure after Medicaid (Scott-Hayward, 2009). The correction spending has quadruples between the year 1980 and 1912, from $17 billion to $71 billion. The trends are much higher than those of P-12 education that only doubles from 258 to $534 billion within the same duration (U.S. Department of Education, 2016). It is estimated that 1 in every 20 fund dollars is spent on corrections (Scott-Hayward, 2009). Local spending among counties have shown a five fold increase from $20 billion in the year 1988 to $100 billion in the year 2008 (Rivers, 2010). The sharp trends, evidently is unsustainable, both to the national government and the local government. Additionally, economic downturns also worsen the situations.
In the United States fiscal year 2009, forty-three states faced budget gap of over $100 billion. It became evident to the government that the corrections’ budgets was too large that could no longer operate without introducing cuts. Twenty-six states reversed their spending trend towards corrections and introduced cuts. Among the states, seven: Georgia, Illinois, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Kansas, and Nebraska cut corrections spending by at least ten percent. Kansas implemented the largest cut by at least 22% (Scott-Hayward, 2009). The goal of the cuts is to aid in reducing overspending in correction facilities.
The cost of recidivism goes beyond direct financial inputs. A lot of labor is invested to cater for the increasing cases. The government has to cater for the employees financial obligations, which weighs down the national and local government (Rivers, 2010). Correction facilities are continuously being expanded to accommodate the increasing numbers, which in turn attract more investments. Finally, the cost of resources needed for day to day operation of the facilities also weighs the governments (Rivers, 2010). As a result, reduced recidivism rates will promote savings which can be used in other areas such as in the education sector.
High recidivism rates are strongly linked to increased social deviance. When juvenile delinquencies are not effectively controlled, it leads to high criminal rates. Nevertheless, counties that have high criminal rates also present higher recidivism statistics (Rivers, 2010). Economic productivity of any locality is linked to its social stability. Criminal activities impede economic development and in turn affect the counties and state economies. They thwart investments and result into business loses (Rivers, 2010). As a result, modest preventative approaches should be developed to ensure the societies are free from criminal activities caused by recidivism.
Safe and secure living environment is a priority to every citizen. To achieve this, preventative measures should be developed based on evidenced based practice. Among the practices that have been in place include approaches such as early prevention, parent intervention, team approach v/s one case worker, non-negotiable, emotional /mental /physical, and practical practices. Apart from these strategies, focus should be put on individual rather than the entire group of offenders. Through screening methods such as the use of risk analysis tools, potential offenders can be identified and proper rehabilitations adopted to help them. Correction facility programs should be tethered to offenders needs to ensure proper rehabilitations. Oversights should be employed to determine the success of such programs (Ministry of Justice, 2011). Finally, community involvement should be involved since charity begins at home. Community members can act as supervisors and advisors to the potential recidivism victims (Ministry of Justice, 2011). If effectively employed, the preventative strategies will ensure low recidivism rates in Lake County.
Ministry of Justice. (2011). Adult Re-convictions: Results from the 2009 Cohort. London: Ministry of Justice.
Rivers, J. L. (2010). Improving Criminal Justice and Reducing Recidivism Through Justice Reinvestment. Washington D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Scott-Hayward, C. S. (2009). The Fiscal Crisis in Corrections: Rethinking Policies and Practices. New York: Pew Center on the States.
U.S. Department of Education. (2016). Report: Increases in Spending on Corrections Far Outpace Education. Retrieved from: https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/report-increases-spending-corrections-far-outpace-education