BOSTON – May 27, 2008 – The Mid­dlesex Sheriff’s Office is funding a one-​​year study at North­eastern University’s Center for Crim­inal Jus­tice Policy Research that will examine recidi­vism rates of inmates released from the Mid­dlesex House of Cor­rec­tion at Bil­lerica. Natasha Frost, Ph.D., an Assis­tant Pro­fessor at North­eastern University’s Col­lege of Crim­inal Jus­tice, is the prin­cipal inves­ti­gator of the study at North­eastern and will take a com­pre­hen­sive look at a sample of inmates to deter­mine how often and under what cir­cum­stances the inmates are re-​​convicted and re-​​incarcerated.

Also working with Pro­fessor Frost are two doc­toral stu­dents at the Col­lege of Crim­inal Jus­tice, Carlos Mon­teiro and Gar­rett Warfield, and one under­grad­uate stu­dent, Desmond Ryan, a double major in psy­chology and crim­inal jus­tice. The study period began on May 12, 2008 and will con­clude on May 12, 2009.

Working with offi­cials at the Mid­dlesex House of Cor­rec­tion in Bil­lerica, MA, the research team will ran­domly select groups of released inmates from three spe­cific years – 1994, 2004 and 2007 – and estab­lish their recidi­vism rates. They will have access to the crim­inal his­tory reports and elec­tronic intake and release records for all of the inmates involved in the study.

For the 1994 and 2004 groups, they will examine recidi­vism of the released inmates using a three-​​year window, estab­lishing rates at six month, one year, two year and three year inter­vals; for the 2007 group, the research will be based on a one-​​year window of time at six month and one year intervals.

In addi­tion, the research will include an analysis based on the type of offense, whether the offender was a first-​​time or a repeat offender, and whether or not the releases had been placed in treat­ment pro­grams or not.

For the 2007 analysis, four groups of inmates will be sam­pled on the basis of the fol­lowing categories:

  • Offenders with no prior incarcerations assigned to treatment unit
  • Offenders with at least one prior incarceration assigned to a treatment unit
  • Offenders with no prior incarcerations assigned to a general population unit
  • Offenders with at least one prior incarceration assigned to general population

By devel­oping a com­pre­hen­sive analysis of recidi­vism rates among inmates across time, we can look at whether there are pat­terns devel­oping and whether there are any impor­tant dif­fer­ences across groups,” said Frost, who focuses her research on pun­ish­ment and social con­trol. “The Mid­dlesex House of Cor­rec­tion recently under­went a major struc­tural ren­o­va­tion and change in cor­rec­tional ori­en­ta­tion. The analyses of these data could be ben­e­fi­cial in helping the Sheriff’s Office iden­tify ways to make inmate re-​​entry more successful.”

For more infor­ma­tion about this study or about Pro­fessor Frost, please con­tact Jenny Eriksen at (617) 373‑2802 or via email at j.​eriksen@​neu.​edu.

About the Col­lege of Crim­inal Justice

The Col­lege of Crim­inal Jus­tice pre­pares the stu­dents for pro­fes­sional and research careers in crim­inal jus­tice, crim­i­nology, and related fields by applying mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary and com­par­a­tive social sci­ence to under­stand, pre­dict, and explain crime and con­tribute to the devel­op­ment of public policy within urban com­mu­ni­ties. Using an active learning approach, the Col­lege seeks to develop its stu­dents intel­lec­tu­ally and eth­i­cally, while pro­viding them with a keen appre­ci­a­tion for the com­plex­i­ties of crime and for public and pri­vate efforts to make com­mu­ni­ties safer and ensure justice.

About North­eastern

Founded in 1898, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is a pri­vate research uni­ver­sity located in the heart of Boston. North­eastern is a leader in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research, urban engage­ment, and the inte­gra­tion of class­room learning with real-​​world expe­ri­ence. The university’s dis­tinc­tive coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram, where stu­dents alter­nate semes­ters of full-​​time study with semes­ters of paid work in fields rel­e­vant to their pro­fes­sional inter­ests and major, is one of the largest and most inno­v­a­tive in the world. The Uni­ver­sity offers a com­pre­hen­sive range of under­grad­uate and grad­uate pro­grams leading to degrees through the doc­torate in six under­grad­uate col­leges, eight grad­uate schools, and two part-​​time divi­sions. For more infor­ma­tion, please visit www​.north​eastern​.edu.