Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Term Paper


School of Unrestricted Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Grace Veach


With the rise in the use of prisons, recidivism also grew. Recidivism, in the broadest sense, is the act of a past offender coming back into contact with the justice system. Prisons have been used as far back as the fourth century, but over time their purpose has changed. Today in the United States, the main purpose of prisons is rehabilitation. The most recent law, the First Steps Act, reflects the desire to reduce the trend of recidivism. Many programs have been used as a method of reducing recidivism. Recidivism is a cycle of pain, creating jaded prisoners and placing them back in a society filled with people who doubt and fear them. They have to work around laws that hinder an easy return to the community. Recidivism leaves houses empty of fathers and mothers, which destroys families and increases the likelihood of juvenile offenders. It causes more people to face the pain and suffering of others’ actions. Recidivism is not declining because no one is cooperating. The lack of cooperation is shown by varying definitions, incomparable studies, and only partial participation. There is also a lack of effective action by the United States government. The problem of recidivism in the United States will only improve when people care not only about themselves but also others. It is better for citizens if recidivism is reduced. A reduction in recidivism would be safer and provide a better use of the citizens’ taxes. It is also necessary for citizens to have compassion and empathy for past offenders. If the citizens had compassion, then reducing recidivism would become a real possibility.