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Looking Beyond Recidivism: New Research on Well-Being in Prisons and Jails From the National Institute of Justice

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2023

This publication summarizes a conversation on the importance of making education more accessible to incarcerated individuals; and it discusses the need to redefine success beyond the use of recidivism rates to determine efficacy of corrections programs as well as the importance of changing prison culture through programming.


Angel E. Sanchez, a visiting fellow at the Bureau of Justice Assistance, is an attorney committed to making education more accessible to people who are incarcerated. At the National Institute of Justice’s 2023 National Research Conference, Sanchez led a discussion on corrections research that looked beyond preventing recidivism to explore evidence-based ways of improving individual experiences and institutional culture within prisons and jails. He was joined by three researchers working to evaluate and implement corrections programs: Stephen Tripodi, associate professor at the Florida State University College of Social Work; Marina Duane, research fellow at the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall; and Daniel O’Connell, senior scientist at the University of Delaware’s Center for Drug and Health Studies. This article details how Sanchez linked the researchers’ work to a broader movement in corrections focused on well-being — and to his own experience of incarceration and the barriers he encountered on his path to earning a law degree after release from prison.

Date Published: November 1, 2023