Measuring Recidivism in the District of Columbia
Group: Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
Despite its importance, recidivism is often defined and measured differently by different agencies, and the lack of consistency can result in difficulties in coordinating efforts across agencies to assess and respond to the issue of recidivism. To address this challenge, this study explores the possibility of standardizing the definition and measurements of recidivism. This is done by examining the recidivism of those released from the Department of Corrections (DOC) in the District of Columbia (DC) in FY07 and identifying key factors that affect their recidivism measured in three different ways – rearrest, reconviction, and reincarceration. The results show that several factors are consistent predictors of recidivism regardless of the type of recidivism event. Race, age at release, certain incarceration charges, and criminal history are associated with the recidivism among the DOC releases. Based on these findings, this study recommends that those predictors should form the basis for developing a standardized definition and measure of recidivism, and the data on those predictors should be collected by relevant agencies and linked with a common offender identifier.
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