Recidivism

Assembly Bill 1050 required the BSCC to draft and approve the definition of recidivism and other relevant terms. Those definitions are available here.

As noted in BSCC’s definition, alternative measures are appropriate, depending on the circumstances and objectives.
In addition to recommending a standard for recidivism reports, the BSCC provides a set of guidelines for analysts preparing to conduct and use recidivism studies in program planning and evaluation.

 

Definitions of Key Terms

Assembly Bill 1050 amended Section 6027 of the Penal Code to require the Board to: “Develop definitions of key terms, including, but not limited to, ‘recidivism,’ ‘average daily population,’ ‘treatment program completion rates,’ and any other terms deemed relevant in order to facilitate consistency in local data collection, evaluation, and implementation of evidence-based practices, promising evidence-based practices, and evidence-based programs.”  The following definitions have been approved by the Board.

Average Daily Population

Daily population is the number of inmates housed in a facility in a day. Average daily population is the daily population divided by the number of days in the period of measurement.

Measurement

For a monthly average daily population take the daily inmate count (usually at or near midnight), add these daily counts together and divide by the number of days in that month.

Conviction Definition

Conviction is defined as:

  • Entry of judgment of guilty on a plea of guilty or no contest; or
  • Entry of judgment of guilty on a verdict of guilty

Length of Stay Definition

Length of Stay for each inmate is the number of days from date of intake to date of release.

  • The Length of Stay for each inmate is the number of days from date of intake to date of release regardless of changes in classification, housing, or sentencing status during that period.
  • Any part of one calendar day counts as one day (e.g. if booked/received at 9:00pm on Monday and released at 2:00 am on Tuesday, counts as two days)
  • If an inmate is released from detention multiple times during the quarter, he/she will have multiple separate lengths of stay.
  • Periods spent under an alternative form of custody will not be counted towards Jail Length of Stay*.
  • Electronic monitoring
  • Work Release
  • Residential Treatment
  • Non-Residential Treatment
  • County Parole
  • Work Alternative Programs
  • Day Reporting
  • Home confinement

*This list may not be all inclusive.

Adult Definition of Recidivism

Recidivism is defined as conviction of a new felony or misdemeanor committed within three years of release from custody or committed within three years of placement on supervision for a previous criminal conviction.[1]

Supplemental Measures

This definition does not preclude other measures of offender outcomes. Such measures may include new arrest, return to custody, criminal filing, violation of supervision, and level of offense (felony or misdemeanor).

Recidivism Rates

While the definition adopts a three-year standard measurement period, rates may also be measured over other time intervals such as one, two, or five years.

Treatment Program Completion Rates Definition

Treatment program completion rate is the percentage of people entering a program who go on to complete it.

Note

While this measure provides useful information for the purposes of program evaluation, by itself it does not provide a direct measure of program effectiveness.

Measurement

Treatment programs are multifaceted in their design, services and population served. To avoid unintentionally excluding programs with a narrow definition, respondents are asked to define enrollment and completion prior to calculating the treatment program completion rate.

  1. Enrollment
  • An enrollment definition includes criteria on admittance, intake, and/or referral. A clear start date should be captured locally.
  • g. Enrollment in the ABC treatment program begins after the participant completes an in-take interview with a program counselor
  • g. Enrollment in the ABC treatment program begins when the participant receives an acceptance letter
  1. Completion
  • A completion definition includes criteria on the steps a participant must take to finish the program. The client’s status at departure (e.g. met criteria, transferred out of program, dismissed from program, etc.) and date of completion should be captured locally.
  • g. Completion in the ABC treatment program is defined as graduation from phases 1-3
  • g. Completion of the ABC treatment program is achieved when the participant receives a Certificate of Completion

Formula

Number Completed    =     Completion Rate

Number Enrolled

  1. Tally the number of participants who have enrolled in the program
  2. Tally the number of participants who have completed the program
  3. Divide completions by enrollment to arrive at the completion rate

 

[1] “Committed” refers to the date of offense, not the date of conviction.