Notion of Recidivism

Notion of Recidivism

The notion of recidivism attracts different meanings to different people (Doherty, 2015). Two different officers may view the same offense from different perspectives and therefore enacted different correction measures on the offender. The disparity in the meaning of recidivism, therefore, influences those in charge of evaluating the effectiveness of correctional policies. What constitutes a violation is not uniformly agreed upon by every person involved in criminal justice (Lynch, Stretesky, & Long, 2015). Therefore the formulation of a definitive policy is a challenge given that the issue is not universally agreed upon. For instance, minor offenses are more likely to be overlooked by service-oriented officers since they believe that re-imprisonment is not the best for the lawbreaker; however, officers focused on law enforcement are likely to send offenders back to prison for minor offenses (Mosher, Miethe & Hart, 2011). Therefore, measuring the effectiveness of correction policies using recidivism is likely to give misleading results as recidivism is a concept evokes different interpretations.

The sensitivity or effectiveness of parole officers is an area of concern as there lacks substantive research to determine the role played by parole officers in the recall to prisons. Each year more convicts are released from prisons, and they are placed in the hands of parole officers and probation services that are overstretched and working in beyond their limits (Padfield & Maruna, 2006). Thus, the role of the insufficient system is overlooked by research when trying to establish the cause of prison recalls. These elements are found in the lack of a supporting proposition that recalls to prison have a chance of reducing the likelihood of an offender committing another crime in the future. Additional research is needed in creating policies that lead to recall decisions and more so in addressing the position of the supervising probation officer (DeMichele & Payne, 2018).


DeMichele, M., & Payne, B. (2018). Taking officer time seriously: A study of the daily activities of probation officers. Probation Journal65(1), 39-60.

Doherty, F. (2015). Obey all laws and be good: Probation and the meaning of recidivism. Geo. LJ104, 291.

Lynch, M. J., Stretesky, P. B., & Long, M. A. (2015). Crime, the Concept versus Its Measurement as a Violation of the Criminal Law. In Defining Crime (pp. 91-115). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Mosher, C., Miethe, T., & Hart, T. (2011). The Mismeasure of Crime (2nd ed.). California: SAGE Publications.

Padfield, N., & Maruna, S. (2006). The revolving door at the prison gate. Criminology & Criminal Justice6(3), 329-352. doi: 10.1177/1748895806065534