Research Proposal: Recidivism External and Internal Factors

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Recidivism

External and Internal Factors

What are the external & internal factors that contribute to recidivism and what interventions are effective in minimizing the impact of factors.

Recidivism is the tendency of the offenders to reoffend, once they are through with their term, and are back in the society. This effect has elicited a lot of controversy and divided opinion, between those advocating for longer sentences in the interest of public safety, and those advocating for shorter sentences with the belief that, the longer sentence will not reduce recidivism rate. This research paper aims to summarize the topic of recidivism, as seen through the three research methods of Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed methods and also their strengths and weaknesses. Studies done indicate that, the effect of sentencing of an offender (as compared to other non-sentencing punishment) and the length of the sentence on recidivism is complex and most prone to be offender specific (Bailey, 2007) Three research methods can be used to get credible information and analysis on the rate, effects and reasons for recidivism. They include; Quantitative, Qualitative and mixed methods of research.

Used widely in social sciences, Quantitative research refers to the systematic analysis of a social phenomenon through the use of mathematical or statistical techniques. The aim of quantitative research is to come up with mathematical models or hypothesis that can well describe, or represent a certain social phenomena. It deals with numerical information, given by a small population, to give way to an unprejudiced result, which can be generalized to capture the predicament of a larger population. In relation to recidivism, quantitative research can be used to get numerical data, from where statistical inferences can be drawn upon, so as to reach a credible conclusion (Rice 1975). This study is set on the issue of recidivism and its aim is to inform on the various trends and causes of recidivism and how the various research methods can b used to inform on the subject, putting into perspective the strengths and weaknesses of each research method. Quantitative research methods can be used in the study of recidivism, although it has its limitations and strength's which will be discussed later in this research proposal.

Through Quantitative research, data obtained from the jails can be used to reach conclusions on the recidivism levels and general outlook. Using this method, a researcher will depend on numerically available data. Results of the data analysis are then used to create knowledge and draw inferences so as to reach conclusions. Based on observation, original thinking and assumptions, the variables are isolated so that the relationship between them could be obtained. Using this technique, a researcher would have to take a holistic view, and analyze a response or responses given by a respondent in a natural setup. Moreover, information is acquired from those who are dominators of the given study area. Through this, the information given by the respondent can be deemed to be relevant and valid for the research being undertaken.

One of the major strengths of this method of research is that, the data obtained and used for this analysis is definite, because it is numerical. For example, the rate of recidivism can easily be tabulated in numerical value or percentage and easily translated into workable translations. Through quantitative research, one would be able to get the trends of recidivism, based on the current data and in effect, be able to project future projections. The definitive nature of the numerical data used in qualitative research method, gives definite analyses that does not leave room for assumptions and second guessing.

On the other hand, a great limitation, with this method is that the numerical data used may be obsolete or it may change with time. Quantitative research depends on data that has been collected over time, making its relevance to be time specific. It may offer skewed or untrue information, especially if used to give data on future projections. Other limitations attached to quantitative research include; resource constraints, time allocated for the data collection exercise may not be enough to get accurate data, infrastructural deficiencies and level of education. Some of the Quantitative data may require to be handled by experts in the specific field due to the complexity of the data under investigation. For example, data on recidivism would be well collected by a prison warden, counselor or a law enforcer.

For qualitative research, smaller but more focused samples are used as opposed to larger samples. It does not try to answer the question of what, where and when aspects of the research, but rather tries to answer the question of why and how. Through this method, a researcher can easily get the information on the reasons contributing to the high levels of incidences of recidivism. This research method employs a personal and humane touch when dealing with a respondent, and in effect, the established relationship can be used to further solicit for more intimate information.

The main strength of this kind of research is that, the enumerator in the research process would have an ample time discussing a pertinent issue with the respondent. This first hand interaction, would give the enumerator an ample chance and opportunity to interact with the respondent in a friendly way, so as o get all the relevant information and more. It is through the use of this method that a researcher can be able to get a lot of information from the respondent, based on the established rapport.

The major limiting factors that may be associated with this kind of research would include, language barriers, cultural, religious or political diversity may lead to flawed information (Rice 1975).The time frame set for the exercise can become a challenge in that, if enough time is not set, then the data collected may not be representative of the whole scenario. Other challenges include; inadequacy of resources, weak organizational framework, Inability of relevant authorities to give relevant data on a timely basis, and little pride and pay in the job which de-motivates the enumerators. Different methods can be used in qualitative research including.

Secondary Source Analysis

Case Study

Focus Group

Interview

Ethnography & Observation

For a researcher to use this method, one has to combine both qualitative and quantitative data. Through the method, data of qualitative and quantitative origin are collected, analyzed and "mixed" to address research problems. The rationale behind this design should be informed by the fact that neither of the two methods, i.e. proved dependable in highlighting trend and insight of the issues sought. Using a combined qualitative and quantitative method, allows the two to compliment each other and hence provide a conclusive analysis. By using this research method, a researcher has a wide range of options on the kind of data that he would use to get practical information that would help him to draw concrete conclusions on matters relating to recidivism. In the context of recidivism, this is the most conclusive and the best research method that can be used to get the best conclusion and the true picture.

This research method is devoid of major bottlenecks in the context of recidivism, in that it considers all the relevant parameters. However, the limitation that may exist would be the same limitations that are faced by both qualitative and qualitative research methods. By using this method, both the empirical and numerical data are used, thereby giving the research a wide range of accuracy. The issue of recidivism, changes on a timely basis, meaning data that may be relevant today, would be most likely obsolete tomorrow. By combining the two modes of research technique, there is a higher chance of getting some up-to-date and relevant data.

Recidivism can be defined as the tendency to return to prison, for an offence that one was imprisoned for in the first place, or because of a similar offence or even a different one. The term is mostly associated with criminal behavior, substance abuse or sexual offences (Lisa, 2011).Research has shown that a big percentage of offenders, will find themselves right back in prison, for the same offences which they had been jailed for, initially. According to the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute

(2009) report, Punishment and Recidivism in the United States of America, 53% of males and 39% of females suffer from recidivism due to re-incarceration (Bailey, 2007) .This has had a negative effect to the American jail systems, because of overcrowding and continuation of crimes, even in the precincts' of the jail. Through recidivism, the major objective of incarceration, which is behavioral correction, is greatly undermined (Lisa, 2011). There are several factors that contribute to recidivism, and they can be broadly categorized into external and internal factors. They include;

External factors that contribute to recidivism are mostly centered on the environmental factors or the factors surrounding an offender. They include social state and diversity of the offender's social setup and the geographical location, or more specifically "the neighborhood." In America, certain regions are more pre-disposed to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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