The Call to Focus on Desistance Instead of Recidivism in Measuring Success
Date:  03-21-2018

Justice system is asked to "support the process of success instead of tracking single instances of failure"
From The Marshall Project

Any discussion of criminal justice policy inevitably includes the word “recidivism.” Usually more than once. Recidivism is the reoccurrence of crime among people known to have committed crimes before. At all levels of justice, from local probation offices to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, if we judge the impact of interventions at all, we do so in part by measuring recidivism. In a report we published today with the Harvard Kennedy School, we conclude that recidivism is often the wrong measure. And using it exclusively to assess the quality of justice is like using a school’s dropout rate to measure the success of teachers—it may be pertinent, but it is inadequate and often misleading.

First, recidivism is not reducible to the behavior of individuals. For example, an illegal act cannot become the basis for recidivism until it is reported to law enforcement. And many crimes, including half of all violent crimes, are never reported to police, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. Continue reading >>>

Read the full report here.