Prisons weren’t built to rehabilitate. We cannot expect people to become good citizens when corrosive prison culture sabotages character change. It’s time to transform how we “do” prison in America.
Recidivism – the rate at which released prisoners return to state custody – has long been the reigning statistic of American corrections. Instead of quantifying success, though, it measures failure. While recent research challenges the idea that recidivism is a sufficient metric, it remains a focus of the prison system. To combat recidivism, researchers have identified risk factors, like antisocial thinking and behavior, to target for reduction. Officials now seek to provide evidence-based programming that addresses criminogenic factors.