Criminogenic Risk and Reducing Recidivism

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ)  recently posted a description of recidivism. This included recidivism rates. The update summarizes statistics and provides useful insight. According to the report, 68% of offenders return to prison within three years. Within nine years, over 80% return to prison.

 According to Pew, twice as many people are in community corrections -4.5 million- as are in prisons and jails. Most of these folks will soon be part of the “rest” of society, about 9 out of 10 of them.  This general population of probation and parole is a revolving door of offenders going in and out of jail.  The recidivism rate is essentially flat over time, but many offenders go back to jail multiple times. This is happening while the number of people in community corrections programs has grown significantly.  The overall trend is going no where but slowly down.

Corrections agencies recognize that simply tracking and trying to keep probationers out of trouble is not enough. It is critical to help increase the chances that they will stay out of jail once they return to society.

Criminogenic Needs and Programs that Address Them

Beginning in the 1980s, research was done on how best to help offenders avoid returning to prison. Out of this research, a set of Criminogenic Needs emerged. These are risk factors or problem areas that can negatively impact the chance of reoffending.

According to several authorities in this field, including the National Institute of Health and National Council on Crime and Delinquency, there are an established “Big 8” criminogenic needs or factors:

  1. Antisocial beliefs; criminal orientation and thinking
  2. Antisocial associates or peer relationships
  3. Antisocial personality disorders and anger management
  4. Conviction history
  5. Family dysfunction, parenting and family relationships
  6. Education and employment
  7. Leisure and recreation
  8. Substance and alcohol abuse

Many organizations have successfully implemented evidence-based programs that address these risk factors head-on.  The objective of these programs is to reduce recidivism, improve reentry rates, and lower the cost of offender program management.

Sentinel Offender Services offers cognitive skills programs based on methodology proven to reduce recidivism. We have assisted several community corrections agencies in this effort. Together, we develop a custom curriculum designed to meet the needs of their specific offender population. Sentinel employees deliver end-to-end in-community programs.  Each course we deliver is built with evidence-based practices. Courses include anger management, thinking for good, parenting skills and similar.

NIJ Update 

Download the document or read it online below