The McGeorge Alternative Summer Advantage Program (“McGeorge ASAP”) is a self-directed volunteer summer legal research project created by alum Lexi Purich Howard and Asst. Dean of Career Development Molly Stafford in response to COVID-19. The program matched McGeorge students who lost summer opportunities due to the pandemic with local attorneys for guidance on a research project on the topic of the student’s choosing. This week’s ASAP paper was authored by Adrienne Black (2L, 2022) under the mentorship of Ashley Harvey, an attorney at the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office.
“Recidivism among felony offenders fuels the overcrowding of the United States prison system, while reducing public safety and subjecting the public to the threat of repeat offenders. [i] The United States has overly relied on incarceration while abandoning efforts to reform criminogenic behaviors, resulting in historically high recidivism rates.[ii] In 1994, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (“BJS”) examined a total of 272,111 inmates released that year, including their criminal histories and the financial impacts of their arrests. Of those former inmates, 78% had been incarcerated for a non-violent crime, and 67% former inmates had committed at least one serious new crime within three years of their release. The 272,111 inmates had accrued more than $4.1 million in arrest charges before their current imprisonment, and acquired an additional $744,000 arrest charges in the three years following their discharge; they had also averaged about 18 criminal arrest charges per offender during their criminal career.[iii] As BJS’s study illustrates, the marginal benefit of incarceration for the purposes of crime control only restricts an offender’s ability to commit further crimes during his/her period of confinement, yet is ineffective in changing criminal behavior.[iv]
The discussion that follows is structured into sections that break down the issues of prison reform, rehabilitation, and recidivism. Section I examines incarceration rates, specific to California. Section II recognizes the importance of California implementing rehabilitation programs, specifically addressing the economic impact the programs serve, the correlation between correctional education and reoffending, and addressing an individual’s “criminogenic needs.” Section III highlights three key principles that the Legislative Analyst’s Office (“LAO”) has determined would maximize recidivism reduction. Section IV further narrows the scope of this discussion and identifies rehabilitation programs offered within the Northern Region of California. Section V illustrates the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs through an individual’s personal experience… “