Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Mihael Ami Cole
Recidivism refers to the return of an offender to criminal behavior following conviction, diversion, or punishment. The reasons that people reoffend vary. The degree to which any particular factor may cause someone to commit another crime is unclear, but the following list comprises seven general theories about why offenders return to criminal practices. Proponents of this view suggest that offenders are beyond reform, and as such, most sanctions, particularly less onerous ones, will not deter them from future offending. Many politicians subscribe to this philosophy and campaign on justice platforms that are aimed to “get tough on crime.” They argue that offenders make a rational choice to commit crimes and will reoffend if they are not punished severely enough. Others believe that individuals will commit further crimes if their original punishment was inappropriate and did not act as a deterrent. Sentences may be too lenient and fail to make people ...