Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Anthony K. Fleming
Recidivism is a vital concern to the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole (ABPP), taxpayers, and family members affected by the revolving door of inmates in and out of the Alabama prison system. Little, however, is understood about the relationship between the effectiveness of prison programs and rates of recidivism. Using social learning theory as a theoretical framework, the purpose of this study for the ADOC was to explore the nature of the relationship between prison program efficacy and improvements on recidivism. Data were collected through a convenience sample of 17 ADOC and 1 ABPP staff members who were tasked with input to inmate programs including evidence based programs or risk assessments. Interview data were inductively coded then subjected to Braun and Clarke's thematic analysis procedure. In total, 43 inmate programs were analyzed from the 5 selected prisons in Alabama. Findings associated with this study indicated 3 key terms. First, despite resources dedicated to inmate programs, participants perceive that the programs do not meet the intended goal of recidivism reduction. Second, the ADOC does not effectively track recidivism, and there are opportunities to expand evidence based decision making related to recidivism programming. The positive social change implications stemming from this study of this study include recommendations to establish a validated risk assessment that will assist the correctional facility in tailoring evidence based programs to fit the needs of the inmate and create a mechanism for tracking recidivism. An effective risk assessment and prison programs will assist convicts in assimilating back into the community and reduce taxpayer costs of incarcerating inmates.