In regards to criminal behavior, recidivism refers to criminals re-offending after release from prison. In the United States, the recidivism rate is approximately 60%, which means that more than half of people released from prison commit another known crime.
An incarceration system could find many effective ways to significantly reduce the recidivism rate. And I assume doing it would save a lot of money because it would reduce so much crime, much of which is committed by previously convicted offenders.
Unfortunately, I do not think it is in the interests of the prison industry to reduce recidivism and prevent crime. The prison-industrial complex makes money by building prisons and stuffing them full of people. They make money with high crime rates. For example, you may wonder why the prison system wastes so much of taxpayers’ money barbarically throwing non-violent drug offenders in overcrowded prisons while releasing non-rehabilitated violent offenders who then commit more violent crime such as rape, murder and battery. The prison industry does that because they make more money that way. The prison industry makes money by getting people put in prison who do not belong there. They make money by not lowering violent crime rates such as when they fail to rehabilitate violent offenders before release.
Industrial-complexes cause the government to spend taxpayers’ money in ways that are wasteful, inefficient and ineffective for the taxpayers but profitable for the industries, politicians and bureaucrats that receive the money.
We can talk all day about how the politicians and the prison industry could reduce recidivism and violent crime. But the problem is not that they do not know how to do it. The problem is that they do not want to do it.
In the interest of keeping this blog post from getting too long, I will make my next post about how I think we can solve the problem and get the prison industry to actually rehabilitate offenders and reduce recidivism and violent crime.
UPDATE: Part 2: Getting the Prison Industry to Actually Rehabilitate Offenders