Recidivism Reconsidered: Preserving the Community Justice Mission of Community Corrections
In the following discussion, we describe the logical and practical problems that arise when recidivism is used as the principal outcome measure for community corrections agencies. We recognize that recidivism will always be a feature of justice policy and practice. Recidivism offers a simple and familiar outcome measure for judging the effectiveness of justice interventions. Pointing out the logical flaws of recidivism will not diminish its salience for audiences disinclined to question its utility. Our purpose in this discussion is not to end the use of recidivism as a justice system measure but to illustrate its limits and to encourage the development and use of more suitable measures — namely, positive outcomes related to the complex process of criminal desistance.
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