Understanding recidivism, namely its continuity, change and cessation, can translate into important knowledge for the development of approaches focused on desistance, meaning the interruption, the decrease or the end of a delinquent career. Recidivism and desistance are therefore two associated concepts, and from this relationship could result important contributions to interventions with young offenders.
The “Reincidências - Young offenders recidivism and prevention of delinquency” project is coordinated by the Portuguese Youth Justice’s Probation Services (Direcção-Geral de Reinserção Social - DGRS). The project aims to create and implement a technical and methodological support device to enhance the work of this institution, systematically collecting data and carrying out studies to estimate young offender’s recidivism, as well as the effectiveness of the juvenile justice system in preventing crime.
Based on research methods used in the social sciences, the project is fundamentally based on two assumptions:
- That the reduction of recidivism and social adjustment levels are the most important indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of intervention within the juvenile justice system.
- That the evaluation of risk and the protection of factors associated with recidivism, with the aim of preventing re-offence, are of the utmost importance.