The most called upon dependent variable in the field of criminal justice is recidivism. It is followed closely in usefulness by the use of crime as a dependent variable. In this study, a ration measurement scale is used as it allows for the benefit of zero on the measurement scale, which is essential as some crimes are never repeated following release. However, as with any measurement and analysis, the reliability of the measurement is directly tied to the quality of the data used and upon which the investigation is based. Thus, the reliability of the data is key to the successful evaluation of the policies aimed at preventing repeat crime.
The recurring theme most prevalent in the field notes is one of the reliability or lack thereof of any measurement, depending upon the data used in the construction of the assessment. The importance of correct data collection and analysis pertaining to the measurement of crime and recidivism rates is thus a key theme throughout. Furthermore, the concepts of crime and its severity and recidivism and the factors that influence them are discussed at length.
A crime is understood to be an action that breaks either federal or local law and can vary hugely in severity. Recidivism is, in criminal justice, understood to be the committing of a criminal act by a person in the three years following their release from prison, which then leads either to being arrested once more, once more being convicted, or returning to prison either within the framework of the old sentence or with a new one (National Institute of Justice). Criminal justice is the system of law enforcement that is adhered to in all processes involved in the pursuit of criminal proceedings and punishment.
The potential relationships that bear examining are that of crime and recidivism and the reliability of measurement and scope of research and data collection. The most important relationship between crime and recidivism, is as the latter does not exist without the former. To rephrase, the very concept of recidivism is tied to a crime having been committed and persecuted with prison time in the first place, later followed by the perpetration of another crime in the initial three-year period following release. The other essential relationship is between superior and correct data and reliable measurement. As noted, the reliability of any measurement, including those of crime and recidivism, is directly dependent upon the quality of the data gathered during the course of the investigation and subsequent measurement. The importance of the correct appraisal of both recidivism and crime is emphasized due to the influence of the measurements on the estimation and evaluation of the policies employed with the purpose of preventing these acts.
Narrative – Including any patterns
The concept of recidivism is introduced and explained. It is followed by the explanation of the importance of correct measurement of recidivism rates for the betterment of prevention policies aimed at the act. Recidivism after release, though not a given, is often observed. A reliable measurement of the rate at which it is committed would thus be a great aid in evaluating the efficacy or lack thereof of prevention policies for released convicts. The other widely used dependable variable in criminal justice is shown to be the crime itself. This variable is used in the calculation of the contradictory categories of legal and illegal activity. Following the pattern set with recidivism, the usefulness of crime measurements is reliant upon the use of top-quality data in the analysis.
National Institute of Justice (n.d.). Recidivism. Web.