Rehabilitation and Recidivism

Rehabilitation and Recidivism

The number of prisoners is increasing daily, particularly, in developed nations. The United States accounts for close to 25% of the total world’s prison population. 75% of the prisoners are ex-convicts who have been re-arrested. Building and running prisons is quite expensive and it is high time the world devise ways to control this increasing rate of incarceration.

Instead of governments and law enforcement agencies focusing more on punishing and humiliating criminals, they should devise ways to help the offenders abandon crime. Punishing them will only harden them. It is essential to create rehabilitation programs in prisons that will help the inmates quit crime to reduce recidivism. Rehabilitation programs include educational, vocational, and alcohol and drug control programs.

Governments should consider educating prisoners. This includes providing both high school and college education. A survey conducted in Ohio revealed that inmates who received a college degree had a lower re-incarceration rate compared to those who did not get a college degree. Education reduces the rate of recidivism as it equips the offender with new skills that he can use once he is out of prison to make a living.

Research reveals that close to 50% of prisoners are addicted to drugs. Implementing alcohol and drug abuse control programs will lower the dependency of prisoners on substances. Drugs alter the cognitive processes of prisoners and make them act in a disorderly manner. Drugs can lead to crimes such as theft, murder and even rape. Introducing alcohol and drug abuse control programs will help inmates learn how to live without depending on drugs. It will also lower the rate of recidivism.

Vocational training is also a good rehabilitative measure. Prisons have managed to change the lives of prisoners through it. Some prisons offer training in carpentry, computer languages, electrical and welding. In Minnesota for example, they have a work-release program that allows inmates to work for the community before they are released. This creates an opportunity for inmates to associate with the public. It enables most inmates to get jobs immediately after they leave prison.

Rehabilitation is an essential tool for controlling recidivism. With the skyrocketing number of prisoners globally. There is a need for more prisons to introduce rehabilitation measures such as educational, vocational and drug control programs. Although it is expensive to introduce these measures in correctional centers. It is worth it as it establishes safer communities by creating ex-convicts who will positively impact society.


Delaney, Carol. “Reducing recidivism: medication versus psychosocial rehabilitation.” Journal of psychosocial nursing and mental health services 36.11 (1998): 28-34.

Dincin, Jerry, and Thomas F. Witheridge. “Psychiatric rehabilitation as a deterrent to recidivism.” Psychiatric Services 33.8 (1982): 645-650.

Anthony, William A., Mikal R. Cohen, and Ray Vitalo. “The measurement of rehabilitation outcome.” Schizophrenia Bulletin 4.3 (1978): 365.



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