Nov 24, 2023 | The Blog

Breaking the Cycle: The Power of Reducing Recidivism for a Safer Memphis

The Blog

Recidivism is the act of a person repeating an undesirable behavior after they have experienced negative consequences of that behavior, or have been trained to extinguish that behavior.

In the context of criminal justice, it refers to the percentage of former prisoners who are rearrested for a similar offense. Recidivism is measured by criminal acts that resulted in rearrest, reconviction, or return to prison with or without a new sentence during a three-year period following the person’s release.

In Memphis, Tennessee, crime rates have been on the rise, with a sharp increase in offenses per 10,000 people. The city set a record for murders in 2021, and according to FBI data, Memphis was the most violent metropolitan area in the United States in 2020. Major property crimes, including burglaries and vehicle and property thefts, shot up 43% in Memphis in the first three months of 2023, compared to the same period a year earlier.

Changing the numbers, or reducing recidivism, could have a significant impact on crime in the Memphis community. Lower recidivism rates would mean fewer crimes committed by repeat offenders, which could lead to a decrease in the overall crime rate. This could also alleviate some of the strain on the criminal justice system, as fewer repeat offenders would mean fewer arrests, trials, and incarcerations.

Moreover, reducing recidivism could also have broader societal benefits. It could lead to improved public safety, lower taxpayer costs, and better outcomes for individuals who have been incarcerated. It could also contribute to community revitalization efforts, as individuals who successfully reintegrate into society can contribute positively to their communities.

However, achieving a reduction in recidivism requires effective interventions and support systems, such as re-entry programs for individuals released from prison. These programs can provide vital support in areas such as housing, employment, and mental health services, helping individuals navigate the challenges of reentering society and reducing the likelihood of reoffending.

In conclusion, reducing recidivism could have a significant impact on crime in the Memphis community, contributing to lower crime rates, improved public safety, and stronger communities. However, achieving this goal requires effective interventions and support systems for individuals transitioning back into society after incarceration.

Studies have shown that inmate participation in education, vocational and job training, prison work skills development, drug abuse, mental health and other treatment programs, all reduce recidivism, significantly.

Bobby Scott

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