Articles on Recidivism

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The perimeter fence at Silverwater jail in Sydney’s west. AAP

Business Briefing: questioning the economics of prison

Business Briefing: the business of prisons. CC BY31.3 MB (download)
Prisons are big business in Australia. Companies not only run entire prisons but provide many of the services. But what does the research say about the impact?
Inmates wait to enter an assigned cell block at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, California. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

Inmates are excluded from Medicaid – here’s why it makes sense to change that

Repealing a legal provision that excludes people in prison or jail from Medicaid could improve access to treatment, save state and local governments money and reduce recidivism.
Research shows a link between violence against children and their subsequent criminality. Shutterstock

Why societies must protect children if they want fewer criminals

Reducing stubbornly high levels of violence can be achieved if there is a focus on ensuring that children are not exposed to violence or toxic stress at home.
What helps ex-offenders avoid rearrest? Stephen Lam/Reuters

Helping ex-prisoners keep out of prison: what works

Case management from nurses combined with peer coaching from ex-offenders helps recently released parolees avoid the behavior that got them locked up in the first place.
Doing time: successful prisons have to ensure prisoners’ time is well spent. Anthony Devlin/PA

How to build better prisons

Closing Victorian jails is an opportunity to create prisons that benefit inmates – and society.
Funding CCTV cameras annihilated a proposal in NSW to create a mentoring program directed at young women in prisons or undergoing release. AAP/Julian Smith

Post-release mentoring succeeds in everything but winning funding

Women coming out of jail require forms of assistance that are not simply directed at technologies for prevention or elimination of recidivism, but rather that are focused on health and well-being.
Judge Steven Alm pioneered the HOPE project, the first of scores of swift and certain sanction programmes in the US. Youtube/PBS screenshot

Swift and certain sanctions: does Australia have room for HOPE?

The success of probation programmes based on swift and certain sanctions has led to more than 160 such schemes operating in the US. Australia should consider whether the model might work here too.
Unless most prisoners are given a realistic prospect of rehabilitation, how much good can prison really do? Shutterstock/sakhorn

What are prisons for? Answering that is the starting point for reform

Sentencing policy is a mixed bag of approaches: punishment, deterrence, protection and rehabilitation. The system will remain costly and ineffective until punitive instincts give way to a more rational approach.
Prisoners are released every day, but we don’t know how many. The lack of basic data is an obstacle to effective services that would minimise their risk of re-offending. AAP/Dean Lewins/Image digitally altered

Our $3b-a-year system is flying blind in supporting ex-prisoners

We simply don't know how many prisoners are released each year, nor their demographic characteristics. As a result, we cannot tailor services that would reduce ex-prisoners' risks of re-offending.
Most of Tasmania’s relatively small prison population is housed at Risdon Prison Complex. Wikimedia Commons/'Risdon' by Wiki ian

State of imprisonment: Tasmania escapes ‘law and order’ infection

Imprisonment rates in Tasmania have steadily declined over the past decade -- the only state or territory where this has happened. That is a result of progressive and effective corrections policies.
Indigenous prisoners perform a welcome ceremony at the 2014 opening of Darwin’s $500 million prison, which is likely to be full by 2018. AAP/Neda Vanovac

State of imprisonment: if locking ‘em up is the goal, NT’s a success

The Northern Territory stands out for having one of the highest imprisonment rates in the world - much higher even than in the US - and it's hard to argue that this does the community much good.

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