Ending the Punishment Cycle by Reducing Sentence Length and Reconsidering Evidence-Based Reentry Practices
Volume 89, No. 4, Summer 2017
By Caitlin J. Taylor, Ph.D [PDF]

While mass incarceration and high recidivism rates recently have received a great deal of political attention, politicians have largely ignored two of the most promising strategies for ending the punishment cycle. First, reducing sentence lengths for all offense types would significantly reduce recidivism rates and new justice system admissions by minimizing the negative effects of mass incarceration on families and communities. Second, the criminal justice system should adopt a broader conceptualization and implementation of evidence-based reentry practice, including programs that may not have a direct or immediately measurable effect on recidivism. This Article, building on results from an evaluation of a federal reentry court program, highlights the value of reentry programs that minimize intrusive criminal justice system involvement and maximize the provision of services to support a productive life outside prison.

Caitlin J. Taylor is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice at La Salle University.