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Why do people re-offend? 

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Re-offending is when someone is arrested on criminal charges, they serve their sentence, and then they break the law again after they get out of jail. For instance, someone who is arrested for selling drugs spends a year behind bars, gets out, and begins selling drugs again six months later. Clearly, the time in jail did not serve as the deterrent it was meant to be.

It usually doesn’t. Roughly half of all prisoners will be incarcerated again after getting out, and two-thirds of them will be arrested within just three years. These statistics come from the Harvard Political Review, which also points out that the United States has the highest prison population per capita in the world. So this is a substantial issue that needs to be addressed. 

Marginalized by society

Often, the reason for reoffending is that the initial prison term creates too many challenges. The person’s life is destabilized, and they may feel marginalized by the rest of society when they get back out of jail.

For example, the hypothetical person who was arrested for selling drugs may end up having a felony on their record. After they get out of jail, they look for a job. But no one will hire them with a criminal record. They don’t have any money to find a place to live or even make ends meet. As a result, they begin selling drugs again out of necessity. Their criminal record has essentially removed all of their other options and forced them back into the same behaviors that got them arrested the first time.

This certainly doesn’t happen to everyone, but it is prevalent and it’s a major problem. It’s part of the reason why all those who are facing criminal accusations must be aware of their legal options.