How does Hope 2 Hire track and measure recidivism?

How we track and measure key statistics related to reoffending is critical in determining the effectiveness of our programming.

Measuring the effectiveness of a nonprofit collaborative can be difficult when your target is moving. Many nonprofits work against hunger, poverty, literacy and health – some of which are harder to measure and quantify change than others. A lack of data hinders many organizations from determining if their work is actually working. Hope 2 Hire is different – our organization tracks recidivism, or the rate at which individuals return to prison after release. Our goal is to decrease recidivism, and the measurement tactic is a straightforward question – are our graduates in or out of prison?

Nationally, recidivism is generally tracked by measuring how many previously incarcerated persons commit a crime within three years of their initial release. This data can be misleading, as not all arrests are warranted, lead to conviction or result in jail time and simultaneously crimes are committed without justice intervention. However, measuring arrest records is a good starting point for large-scale measurement of recidivism data.

Hope 2 Hire seeks to track recidivism using much more effective (and preventative) methods. The National Institute for Justice recommends personal interviews and connections with individuals, building an open and honest relationship with previously incarcerated persons to parse out whether or not they’ve reoffended since leaving prison. These conversations provide critical opportunities for programs, like our partner organization HopeWorks, to leverage caseworkers and intervene on behalf of individuals in need of assistance.

Tracking recidivism using personal interviews is the gold standard for recidivism tracking, and Hope 2 Hire desires for our students to have the strongest path toward success. We hope you’ll join us in supporting your fellow Memphians.

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