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Why prison time often increases reoffending rates

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Criminal Defense

People often think of prison time as a way to reduce reoffending rates. If someone breaks the law, serving their prison sentence is a punishment, but it is also supposed to be a deterrent. When that person gets back out, they will have firsthand experience with the ramifications of their actions, and they will not break the law again.

At least, this is how it’s supposed to work in theory. But studies have found that it actually does the opposite. Prison time doesn’t reduce reoffending rates, but increases them. This is especially true for those who serve long sentences. 

Destabilizing their life

In many cases, the issue is that a long sentence like this can destabilize someone’s life to the point that they can never put those pieces back together again.

If someone has a felony on their record, for instance, they may not be able to get a job. They may try to go to college to get a better education so they can seek different career opportunities, but their application could be denied. Due to these financial challenges, they may find it difficult to secure housing or even buy necessities, like food and clothing.

In other words, when someone gets out of prison, they can’t always integrate back into society easily. They may feel that they don’t have any option but to re-offend, especially when their crimes – theft, drug distribution, etc. – are financially motivated.

Are you facing charges?

You do not want a conviction and an excessive sentence to destabilize your life. If you’re facing criminal charges, you need to know exactly what defense options you have. It can help to have experienced legal guidance.