Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


RELEASED — Result In Brief

Project ID: 299875
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Netherlands

Recidivism of prisoners re-examined

What determines if prisoners will remain crime-free after being released? An EU-funded study sought to answer this question in order to ensure that policy and practice of treating violent offenders are carefully linked to state-of-the art research.
Recidivism of prisoners re-examined
The number of long-term sentences is on the rise. One out of 10 prisoners today is serving a long-term sentence. However, rather than being due to crime rates increasing, the growth is attributed to policy changes. For instance, public discussion and policy have shifted attention to the goal of imprisonment, public safety, costs and the implications of imprisonment for both victims and offenders.

The RELEASED (Re-offending over the Life Course: A Study on Homicide Offender Recidivism) project was conducted at Leiden University in the Netherlands. The project partnered with Harvard Kennedy School of Government to address how this discussion can be applied to life sentences.

A main issue in criminology is discovering why some offenders reoffend after serving a prison sentence while others do not. This is especially the case with homicide offenders. It has remained unknown how homicide offenders are before the offence, after imprisonment and once they return to society. Additionally it is unclear how future crimes in this category can be prevented.

RELEASED interviewed over 100 men and women who had served a prison sentence for homicide in the United States or in the Netherlands. The findings suggested that long-term confinement does not lead to lower recidivism rates. This is especially the case when they are subject to long periods of post-confinement supervision.

As a result of the work, there have been many recent journal publications and a book titled After Life Imprisonment: Re-entry in the Era of Mass Incarceration (New York University Press). The information will be useful for policymakers, correctional authorities and researchers, as well as of interest to the general public.

Related information


Prisoners, violent offenders, crime rates, imprisonment, policy, public safety, criminology, homicide, recidivism,
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