The problem of recidivism has been a very rampant one not only in this country but throughout the world. This problem has been lately thought to be closely related to the various methods that are being adopted by governments in an attempt to deal with other social and criminal justice issues like prison congestion, the need for ideal and workable correctional approaches to criminal offenders, the need for more crime-based punishments for offenders, and the applications of ethics in the entire approach to criminal justice.
This research proposal seeks to find out which parole laws are the most effective in helping deal with recidivism among sex offenders who have served out their prison terms. It employs the use of different methods of data collection, but with an emphasis being placed on the use of secondary data. This data is specifically from police registries on sex offenses in the past. The sample will cover five states and five counties the US and the UK respectively.
Introduction There have remained appalling differences in the manner in which different legal and criminal justice systems in the United States and in the United Kingdom have managed to deal with the problem of recidivism (Mays, 2008). Being an increasingly alarming policy issue which needs urgent redress, recidivism among different law offenders has been noted to be on an incremental path.
For whatever other reasons that there might be, the problem has been largely caused by the tendency of the two nations to establish criminal justice systems that are more responsive to and accommodative of ethical issues and the ultimate desire to have offenders changing their behavior and getting rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society (Infoplease, 2006). Although a number of such criminal justice systems are in place, the use of parole has of late gained a lot of widespread use.
In spite of the controversies surrounding it, it has been established that the system goes a long way in helping judicial and criminal justice systems to not only deal with law offenders but also do it in the rightful, most social, and ethically considerate manner. However, the differences in the rates of success of parole in the US and the UK are very many, with the former registering a lot of success while the latter seemingly struggling to manage the system (Saleh, 2009). Close analysis indicates that there are differences in parole laws which have been responsible for the varying fortunes in the two countries.
In essence, there are parole laws which are highly effective in dealing with recidivism but others are not as effective (Regoli, 2009). The solution to the problem of recidivism, therefore, partly lies in understanding which parole laws are responsible for reducing recidivism cases. The level of effectiveness of the parole laws is hard to measure, no doubt, and it is on this basis that there has to be a narrowing down on specific variables so that they are investigated (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010).
One of the areas that will be dealt with is that of sex offenses, and the aim is to investigate recidivism among sex offenders. Since statistics on sex offenses are only accessible through police registries which in turn can only be made available if the law so provides, it will be paramount that these registries are assessed to evaluate the trends and so find out how they affect the rate of recidivism among sex offender (Mays, 2008). Basically, this research will be conducted by surveying the recidivism rates in both countries.
The control groups will be the use of a sex offender registry or the absence of a sex offender registry. The United Kingdom, which does not have a sex offender registry, will be used as a comparison group while the United States – currently with a sex offenders registry – will be used to investigate the level at which registries help in controlling recidivism (Lanham, 2006). In essence, the independent variable will be the use of a sex offender registry or the absence of one. Literature Review
The success rate of any research is inherent in the nature and manner of the available literature on the research topic. While an appropriately designed research topic might be very easy to research on, it might not necessarily yield the kind of information that is desirable for making appropriate conclusions based on the findings. On the other hand, having a research topic that is controversial might enhance its researchabiliy because of the many writings done on it. One issue has just refused to go away try as much as authorities have tried. This is the issue of recidivism.
It is critically important that there is a clear balance between the need for the public to be protected from the harmful events brought about by the presence of criminal elements among them and the need to have law offenders punished for their crimes and made to pay for their crimes. In the same way, there needs to be a balance between the need to punish offenders and that to have them reintegrated into the community and through behavior change approaches. It has just never been agreed where the dividing line ought to be place so that there is no overdoing of the one thing and neglecting the other.
Moderation, therefore, is the key here. According to Infoplease (2009) in the article U. S. Prisons Overcrowded and Violent, Recidivism High, although there is a dire need to have the social issue of having prisons emptied of prisoners and so make them more accommodative, the problem is that the society has kept pushing the authorities to ensure that they are granted their right to protection first because they cannot suffer fort the sake of other people for the government to make a name out of it.
And as if this is not enough, another critical issue has been the manner in which these prisoners on parole keep behaving as though they were already freed (BJS, 2008). While it is a good move to make prisons more hospitable and the security agencies there more humane in handling the inmates, it is also critical that the society is protected from the consequences of reoffending offenders. Sex offenders are likely to find themselves tempted to recommit the offense than most other offenders owing to the fact that sexual issues are issues of the mind and not so much of the behavior.
This is why there has been a lot of demand for prisoners to be granted conjugal rights. The point here is that if someone can demand and be given conjugal rights while in prison and having committed a sexual offence, then somehow such a one cannot be stopped from committing the crime again given that one is used to sex even in prison. The argument is that there has to be a review of the criminal justice system so that prisons are made to be places where prisoners are denied many freedoms and rights so as to compel them to change their behaviors (Connecticut Department of Correction, 2010).
While it might be true that parole helps prisoners to quickly get reintegrated into the community, it is absolutely unnecessary for this to be done at the expense of the taxpayer who funds the programs aimed at curbing crime and ensuring that there is security for all. Considering that criminals in the midst of the society are just but a minority few, it will be a total disregard of the right of people to freedom, security and safety if inmates can be released before they serve out their prison terms.
This is because prison ought to be a punishment place and the place where behavior change is to be initiated (Abdinisky, 2005). As such, the prisoner ought only to be allowed back into society after serving one’s prison term. Rather than releasing prisoners to the society and pretending to be monitoring them closely, the law enforcement agencies ought to enhance their capacity to deal with increased prisoner numbers. Otherwise, they have to seek to understand the root cause of the problem of increased crime and work to address it (Craig, 2008). This way, everyone will feel vindicated.
The other issue is whether behavior change can be guaranteed just because a prisoner is with one’s close relations or friends. In fact, there tends to be a higher likelihood for sex offenders to commit other crimes when released ass opposed to when they are allowed to serve out their prison terms in prison where they are far away from the community. Sex offenders tend to be people who have a certain negative perception toward the opposite gender and releasing them on parole will not necessarily make them change this mentality – they are only more likely to exhibit it the more (Siegel, 2009).
Based on this literature, there will be conducted a research in the area with the aim of seeking to understands how recidivism can be controlled or has been controlled. It will specifically seek to identify the approaches or causes of recidivism among sex offenders on parole, and analyze whether police registry on the history of offenders do indeed help in addressing the problem or if it other factors play a critical role. In other words, the proposed study will identify the efficacy of the sex offender list in lowering the recidivism rates in the United States.
The United Kingdom will set the standard of recidivism rates without the influence of a sex offender registry. A comparison of the rates will then be done with the United States. Research Questions A research of the nature being proposed here – one covering a large scope and involving more than one sample size to be obtained from different nations – calls for specific research questions to be able to narrow it down for easier but effective handling. It is on this basis that the following questions are proposed for addressing: . Do police registries on sex offenders actually help in reducing cases of recidivism? 2. Is there any relationship between reduced cases of recidivism among sex offenders in the United States and the fact that the law requires that offenders are able to be tracked for a long period of time after they have been in prison? 3. What other factors are responsible for causing recidivism in the United States and UK? 4. Can the United Kingdom, which has no such register, manage to reduce recidivism? 5.
Comparing the two countries, is there any chance that the same factors that affect recidivism among sex offenders apply equally, or are there any other contributing factors? Hypotheses For this research, the following hypotheses are proposed based on the research questions. They aim at guiding the research by keeping the findings within a specific area. 1. There is no relationship between reduced cases of recidivism among sex offenders in the United States and the fact that the law requires that offenders are able to be tracked for a long period of time after they have been in prison.
2. Although police registries on sex offenders actually help in reducing cases of recidivism to a large extent in the US, other factors come into play; which means that the system cannot exactly be imported to the United Kingdom and be expected to work. 3. Apart from these police registers, other factors that affect the level of recidivism in both countries include the culture of the people, the socio-demographic characteristics of the country, the type of parole legislation, the size of the police force, the individual offender’s mannerisms and history, the timing, and the gender of the offender.
Evaluation Site and/or the Subjects of Study The use of correctional facilities will be used for the primary source of information. It will be determined from a sample of 20,000 sex offenders randomly selected; and then determined how many of those offenders are two-time offenders. It is worth noting here that although the sample will be randomly selected, it is only in specific states in the United States because being a very large country it will not be feasible to cover every state. Therefore, the following five states will be covered, 4,000 samples for each. 1. Illinois . Alaska 3. Nevada 4. New York 5. Connecticut Once that information has been obtained, the next step will be seeking to find out what crimes the second-time offenders committed in spite of being on the sex registry before the second offense. At this time, the researchers will be able to take a percentage of the two-time sex offenders who were undeterred by the official registry. In the case of the United Kingdom, they will be taking the 20,000 sex offenders as my sample population before determining how many of them are actually two-time or multiple sex offenders.
This will act as the percentage of inmates who have gone out and committed a sexual assault a second time after being released into the public. The United Kingdom study will offer the number of two-time offenders who were not rehabilitated once incarcerated and actually assaulted someone again. This will be the base statistics that will be need to compare the effects that the United States’ sex offender registry has had on lowering the recidivism rates of inmates. Like in the US, the sample will come from the five areas listed below: . Arberdeenshire (Wales). 2. Bedfordshire (England). 3. Kent (England). 4. Montgomeryshire (Scotland). 5. Yorkshire (England). Evaluation Design In this study, the main method of evaluation will be secondary data analysis. Information about the inmates and recidivists will be collected before using the database for sex registered predators to see the recidivism rates of those registered. The comparative group is the United Kingdom since it has not yet implemented a sex offender registry.
It will demonstrate the effectiveness of the correctional facility alone in limiting recidivism rates. To get access to this information, there will be requests made to police stations for permission to access the records and/or databases (Byrne, 2002). This will be a challenging task given that some of the records, especially of those people who committed crimes while still children, are not legally to be accessed by other persons except those stipulated in the law such as courts and law enforcement agencies.
Another possible threat to the data collected from police records on reported crime is duplication and the legal challenges of the validity of the data as some affected people might publicly come out and deny the validity of the research and statistics. The other method that will be used will be direct interviews with prisoners and police officers, as well as with the officers that are in charge of prisons. The aim is to have first hand information on whether or not having committed an offence in the past will play any role in the determination of the chances of one recommitting the same or different crime in the future.
Although no specific questions will be designed, the researchers will be allowed to use their discretion to make the required conclusions. However, this method is risky as prisoners will generally not give true information about their past. This is likely to compromise the authenticity of the results. The Research Approach The first step will be gathering data from the control group which will represent the recidivism rates before implementation of a registry.
First, from a sample of 20,000 sex offenders, the number of recidivists will determine the percentage of offenders who are multiple offenders. The second step will be collecting data from the United States, taking the cases of 20,000 offenders into account. From this information, researchers will determine the number of multiple offenders, double-checking to see how many of them were listed in the sex registry before the second act (Oppenheim, 1992). Being on the list should have deterred future assaults.
The purpose of this study will be to determine this. Finally, there will be a composition of statistical evidence of the trends and determine the effectiveness of the sex offenders list in reducing the recidivism rates. Data Analysis The main aim of this research being to establish whether or not sex offenders lists play any role in influencing the rate of recidivism, the data collected will first of all be corrected for obvious mistakes before being compared.
In essence, what is obtained from the registries and police stations will be compared with what is obtained from interviews with offenders and the police (Greasley, 2008). Then another comparison of data from the US and that from the UK will be done. A percentage will be arrived at showing how the two countries compare. Apart from comparison, analytic induction will be used where the data will be measured based on the three hypotheses. In the event there is no agreement, then there will be a revision of the hypotheses.
Population and sample A sample of 20,000 sex offenders randomly selected across five states and five counties in the US and UK respectively. From these, it will be established how many are two-time or multiple offenders. Details are shown in the research design section. Ethical Issues This research is expected to generate various ethical issues. The first one will be the way in which such legally binding and very sensitive information about the past criminal records of sex offenders will be handled.
Apart from the fact that information on sex crimes is usually very sensitive and no-one is supposed to use it for purposes that might cause publicity, sex offenders are just like other people and they ought to be given equal treatment. The second ethical issue will be interviewing sex offenders and asking them of what actually caused them to engage in the act is a demoralizing thing and ought to be approached with a lot of caution if only to avoid appearing judgmental and discriminative (Mason, 2002). Such offenders are more in need of being assisted to get reformed and to get out of prison than any other thing.
To deal with the first issue, the researchers will have to seek for legal advice on how to get the information they seek and prior to getting a promise to keep the identity of those involved secret. They will not publish any names and so make sure they are the only third parties, after the individuals themselves and the police officers, who will access the information. On the second issue, the researchers will only interview those sex offenders who will be willing and ready to take part in the interview.
These too will be guaranteed that their identities will not be disclosed. Prior to the interview, they will be made to understand the aim of the research and the importance that the information they will give will be to their respective countries. Project organisation, management, schedule and budget The research will involve a lot of planning. It is expected that the entire process might last six months given that two countries are large and far apart; and a large sample size is involved.
It is expected that the actual research will start on the 23rd day of October 2010 after a preliminary two-month period in which the relevant agencies will be approached to inform them of the intention and to seek any legal permissions to access some information. This time is to be used to mark out the participants and prepare them for the research. It is expected that the costs will include travel, attaining legal documents, results analysis, and obtaining the secondary data. Conclusion Recidivism is a very nagging problem and efforts to find a solution to it form the main purpose of the proposed research.
The main aim of the research will be to ascertain the role that sex offender registries play in determining the rates of recidivism. The main method of data collection, given that two countries will be researched, is secondary sources which are essentially police and correctional center crime registries. The research will face limitations like travel constraints and delays in meeting the set deadline for completion. These will be overcome by starting early enough and planning ahead of time for the process.