The justice system traditionally uses a simple metric to determine whether an individual continues to be a threat to public safety after leaving prison: has the person been arrested for another crime?
Recidivism rates are also used as criteria for judging the success of intervention programs and policy reforms.
But a University of Wisconsin Law School professor argues that in both cases, the system too often gets it wrong.
Prof. Cecilia M. Klingele. Photo courtesy University of Wisconsin
In a recent essay for the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Cecilia M. Klingele suggested that recidivism rates produce a “one-dimensional” picture that not only skews the decisions of judges and parole boards, but prevents the development of effective policies that can reduce mass incarceration.