Defeating Recidivism: Keys to Making ft Happen, American Correctional Association, Alexandria, Va., 2012,389 pp. To order, call toll-free at (800) 222-5646, ext. 0129.
In 1993, the International Community Corrections Association (ICCA) joined forces with the American Correctional Association to publish conference proceedings and the most up-to-date correctional research "to affect the practice of corrections toward the goal of fewer victims and less crime." Selected papers from four ICCA research conferences held between 2007 and 2010 are distilled into 13 chapters in Defeating Recidivism: Keys to Making It Happen. The text creates a composite of leading research, and on occasion1 conflicting opinions by nationally known corrections professionals. Regardless of the varying opinions, the theme or elemental concern of the text is the assessment of offenders' behavior related to the risk to reoffend.
In the introduction, editor Donald Evans writes, "The severe economic recession ... influences correctional authorities and practitioners in how they can most effectively and economically deliver correctional services that promote public safety" According to Evans, dwindling fiscal resources result in service cutbacks and significant reductions in essential workforce numbers. As prison populations continue to increase, and budgets continue to dwindle, the validity and appropriateness of assessment tools arid practices draw greater and more intensive scrutiny. The ever-present concern of responsible correctional programs, as well as public safety, put the focus on the need to reduce recidivism.
Chapter 1 discusses two definitive gender-responsive risk/needs assessment tools that were developed from 1995 to 2006: the Level of Service Inventory and the Northpointe Compass. These instruments, tailored to the needs of female offenders, were applied to probation, prison and prerelease offenders with the intent of predicting future offending patterns and identifying the needs which are likely to contribute to future offending.
In Chapter 2, Christopher Baird references his beliefs in "A Question of Evidence: A Critique of Risk Assessment Models Used in the Justice System" His critique questions concepts and measures that were generally accepted in the justice community In response, Carol Shapiro, founder and president of Family Justice, provides a counter-argument in Chapter 3, "A Response to Chris Baird's Paper." Shapiro says...