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Treatment Programs to Reduce Recidivism


The consequences of crimes committed within the society bear impact on the entire society. These consequences range from medical costs to loss of income due to disabilities that may arise from the act. Some of these consequences last for a lifetime, thus increasing costs of living for the victim as well as the members of the community. It is from this background that there is a dire need of coming up with a program aimed at countering recidivism within society. By consulting highly scholarly material, this literature review is carried out to study the effect of treatment programs aimed at reducing recidivism.

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Literature Review

Redondo-Illescas et al. (2001) seek to underscore the fact that treatment programs based on cognitive-behavioral models are the most effective in treatment programs aimed at reducing recidivism. This study is critical since it aims at evaluating the authenticity of different models used in treatment programs, with a view of establishing the best model that should be adopted to reduce recidivism within the community. Redondo-Illescas et al. (2001) have dismissed the authenticity of plausible theoretical models in reducing recidivism, citing the poor outcome of the programs. The author presents interesting findings as they affirm that the cognitive-behavioral model is more effective on high-risk offenders, as compared to low-risk offenders, and is thus able to influence behavioral change that would result in peaceful coexistence between the offenders and the community. These findings, however, are not consistent with the past literature, perhaps because they are based on small sample size.

Parent (2004) describes how the National Institute of Correction (NIC) carries out a transition process of inmates as they return to the community. This study is critical since it evaluates the needs assessment of this population, with a view of coming up with essential resources. The program aims at enhancing an accountability plan for the transition program within the community services. Thus, Parent (2004) describes how the program uses the Transition from Prison to Community Initiative (TPCI) model to not only provide special needs to the offenders but also provide fundamentals associated with the transition process.

Taxman et al. (2007) investigate the level of substance abuse as well as risks emanating from recidivism by using assessment tools. This study is critical since it helps to assess the placement of the offenders to their relevant treatment centers in order for them to acquire the best out of the community programs. Taxman et al. (2007) have clarified that an inappropriate match of the treatment programs with the offenders only yields unsubstantial results. However, even though the study quantitatively revealed that the standardized screening tool is more viable than the actuarial risk tool, the findings are compounded with one main challenge: some aspects within the program need specialized tools, as some tools cannot address the level of treatment required by the offender.

Solomon et al. (2008) highlight the rationale behind using standardized risk assessment tools that help to identify factors contributing to recidivism, including dysfunctional family, poor self-image, and drug abuse, among others. This study is critical since it tries to identify the needs of the offenders before being subjected to any kind of community treatment. The program aims at achieving its objective through a number of strategies, including contingency management and cognitive processing, to facilitate new behavioral development. Moreover, the findings for this program are credible as they show that more emphasis should be put on reward systems, rather than sanctions, in order to induce behavioral change within the community service programs.

Through his dissertation, Layton-MacKenzie (2008) investigates the efficacy of education programs in reducing recidivism within the community. This investigation is critical because it assesses the impact of offenders’ education after they get out of the correctional facility, with a view of preparing them for job skills that would prevent them from being entrenched in criminal activities. As such, the program aims to reduce recidivism through vocational education that facilitates job employment, thus adding value to the entire community. However, Layton-MacKenzie (2008) raises questions on the effectiveness of the education program on taking a job that would help the offender turn away from recidivism.

Another study carried out by Kolbasovsky & Reich & Meyerkopf (2010) reveals that the Intensive care management (ICM) program can significantly reduce the cost implications of psychiatric recidivism amongst elderly people. This study is critical since it addresses the intimidating incidents that were experienced by this age group before the introduction of the ICM program. Though the program targets the old people, it advocates for a program that does not only reduce the cost of crime to the entire community but also liberates the lives of psychiatric patients from substance abuse. The authors have demonstrated the effectiveness of the program, citing financial savings emanating from the ICM program. The authors have also advocated this program to health plans that aim at reducing costs associated with psychiatrist recidivism.

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Asscher et al. (2011) aim to discover the correlation between delinquency and the child’s psychopathic traits through a meta-analysis study. This study is critical in this subject because it offers a clear understanding of the crimes committed by children, and this facilitates the formulation of an effective program aimed at countering recidivism. The authors demonstrate how treatment programs are able to reduce the level of crime within the society using evidence from quantitative design consisting of a large sample size [10,073], which creates room for the generalization of findings. Through this study, the policy aims at changing the manner in which society perceives psychopathy. Thus, Asscher et al. (2011) are on point by recommending that children should be engaged in treatment programs aimed at reducing psychopathy in order to reduce the level of crime within the society.

Frantzen, San-Miguel, & Dae-Hoon (2011) seek to evaluate the effect of Protecting Order (PO) violation charges in regards to domestic violence by establishing the rate at which it reduces recidivism rate. This study is critical since it seeks to inform that the rate of recidivism cannot be reduced by PO charges, as they are unaccompanied by effective rehabilitation programs aimed at eradicating recidivism. The authors have put their point across, claiming that there is no difference between the charged and the released persons with regard to recidivism in domestic violence. Their findings are based on a credible source [local courts], and the reliability of their findings is ascertained by a cross-comparison of studies carried out in the past.

Wakeling et al. (2011) have engaged themselves in an investigation aimed at establishing the efficacy of prognostic modeling, with a view of establishing whether the individual static items are able to predict sexual recidivism in a more effective way than the Risk assessment Matrix 2000. This study is critical since it helps to evaluate the most effective ways of analyzing sexual recidivism, thus helping to create community programs that are congruent with the characteristics of the offenders. The authors have pointed out that collecting information relative to sexual recidivism can be achieved effectively through individual static items, as opposed to Risk Matrix 2000 predicators. However, the findings are inconsistent, as the pre and post-treatment were not considered as part of the model in assessing the variables of sexual recidivism.

Spjeldnes et al. (2012) have addressed the rate of recidivism by establishing whether it correlates with positive social support from the members of the family. This study is critical since it helps to establish the relationship that should be adopted by families while dealing with offenders. Through a longitudinal study, the program has addressed the issue of discrimination against offenders from a minority group in the United States. Spjeldnes et al. (2012) have ascertained that increased recidivism amongst the minority group in the United States can only be eliminated if the family members adopt a positive approach towards the offenders. The authors have presented the findings through quantitative data consisting of large sample size, thus creating room for generalization of the findings.


This literature review uses scholarly material to demonstrate that the rate of recidivism within the community can be reduced by adopting treatment programs aimed at countering the vice. The literature has laid down facts from studies investigating the programs and identified the program that provides support to the offender through family members and programs based on the cognitive-behavioral change as the most viable in the development of the policy. However, I would recommend a further study that investigates whether job skills are more effective programs than education skills in reducing recidivism amongst the youth who dropped out of school due to criminal offenses.


Asscher, J. J., van-Vugt, E. S., Stams, G. M., Dekovic, M., Eichelsheim, V. I., & Yousfi, S. (2011). The Relationship between Juvenile Psychopathic Traits, Delinquency and (Violent) Recidivism: A Meta-Analysis. Journal Of Child Psychology And Psychiatry, 52(11), 1134-1143.

Frantzen, D., San Miguel, C., & Dae-Hoon, K. (2011). Predicting Case Conviction and Domestic Violence Recidivism: Measuring the Deterrent Effects of Conviction and Protection Order Violations. Violence & Victims, 26(4), 395-409. doi:10.1891/0886-6708.26.4.395

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Kolbasovsky, A., Reich, L., & Meyerkopf, N. (2010). Reducing Six-Month Inpatient Psychiatric Recidivism and Costs Through Case Management. Care Management Journals, 11(1), 2-10.

Layton-MacKenzie, D. (2008). Structure and components of successful educational programs. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice University of Maryland.

Parent, D. G. (2004). Transition from Prison to Community Initiative. Cambridge, MA: Abt Associates.

Redondo -Illescas, S., Sanchez-Meca, J., & Garrido- Genoves, V. (2001). Treatment of offenders and recidivism: Assessment of the effectiveness of programs applied in Europe. Psychology in Spain 5(1), 47-62.

Solomon, A.L., Osborne, J.W., Stefan F. LoBuglio, S.F., Mellow, J., & Mukamal, D.A. (2008). Life after lockup: Improving re-entry from jail to community. Washington, DC.: Urban Institute, Justice Policy Center.

Spjeldnes, S., Jung, H., Maguire, L., & Yamatani, H. (2012). Positive Family Social Support: Counteracting Negative Effects of Mental Illness and Substance Abuse to Reduce Jail Ex-inmate Recidivism Rates. Journal Of Human Behavior In The Social Environment, 22(2), 130-147.

Taxman, F.S., Cropsey, K.L., Young, D.W., & Wexler, H. (2007). Screening, assessment, and referral practices in adult correctional settings: A national perspective. Criminal Justice Behavior 34(9), 1216–1234.

Wakeling, H. C., Freemantle, N., Beech, A. R., & Elliott, I. A. (2011). Identifying predictors of recidivism in a large sample of United Kingdom sexual offenders: A prognostic model. Psychological Services, 8(4), 307-318.

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