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Rethinking Recidivism as a Measure of Our Justice System

Every Thursday night, The Fortune Society hosts a meeting where individuals that have been formerly incarcerated can discuss their transition into the community.

And on a recent Thursday, one theme emerged from that meeting: the fear of doing anything that might get you sent back to prison. One woman for example told the story of being verbally abused by her boss, after finally finding a job. She said she is scared to stand up for herself for fear her boss would call the cops, and she would lose everything she’d worked for. It’s a fear that hangs over many of these men and women daily.

Keeping people from going back to prison after they get out has long been a way to measure success in the American criminal justice system. But experts today say it may not be the best way.

Bruce Western, Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, and Co-Director of the Columbia University Justice Lab, says let’s focus more on desistance — stopping criminal behavior entirely.

Read more at WNYC Back

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