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Updated: Apr 25

CMC dog handler group photo with lead educators and program managers

Many may not be familiar with terms like re-entry programs, rehabilitation, or recidivism unless they or someone close to them has experienced the complexities of the justice system. Yet, within this system, these words carry immense significance. They are instrumental in supporting incarcerated individuals, not just during their release, but also in facilitating a successful reintegration into the broader community.

In this week’s blog, we'll explore the vocabulary commonly used in the world of criminal justice. Our aim is to shed light on how these various programs play a pivotal role in enhancing the success and well-being of those actively participating in them. 

What is recidivism?

According to the National Institute of Justice, recidivism refers to “a person’s relapse into criminal behavior, often after the person receives sanctions or undergoes intervention for a previous crime.” Recidivism is something we do not want. Recidivism means that a justice involved person failed to stay out of the justice system. We want rehabilitation in our criminal population. 

What does justice involved mean? 

Justice involved is a term that is taking the place of such outdated terms such as convict, ex-con, con, criminal, offender and other such derogatory terms.  

What is a reentry program?

A reentry program is a program that helps people re-enter society after serving time in jail or prison.  

What exactly does rehabilitation mean?

According to, criminal rehabilitation is “the process of helping inmates grow and change, allowing them to separate themselves from the environmental factors that made them commit a crime in the first place.”

In short, we want our justice involved population to be rehabilitated into society and we want our recidivism rate to be low. 

What kind of programs help with recidivism?

There are many programs that help with re-entry and recidivism. These include programs both inside the prison and programs for justice involved individuals after release.

Programs for re-entry are usually categorized in three main categories: healthcare, employment, and housing. So you’ll see a lot of re-entry programs that fall under these three categories,  

Some examples of these programs include:

  • Employment training 

  • Vocational training

  • Educational training

  • Residential programs

  • Live in programs

  • Mental health treatment

  • Substance abuse treatment

  • Dog training programs 

Not only do these types of programs help people re-enter society, they make it possible for individuals to succeed and thrive after they’re released. These programs help reduce recidivism and even improve public safety. 

How New Life K9s helps with recidivism

New Life K9s is a nonprofit organization that utilizes the power of the human-canine bond to help inmates successfully reenter society upon release. Our program not only gives these inmates the power and tools to succeed as a handler within the walls of prison, it gives them a hope for the future. These newfound skills and confidence help inmates re-enter into society with the skills needed to cope and succeed in the outside world. If you would like to learn more about what we do at New Life K9s, please take a look at Our Mission page.


Final Thoughts

At times, those involved with the justice system can be overlooked in the public's consciousness. However, it's crucial to recognize that these individuals deserve an opportunity for rehabilitation and the chance to lead successful lives. Prison and re-entry programs play an essential role in facilitating their success and contribute to lowering the recidivism rate. If you're interested in supporting New Life K9s and our mission, explore our 'How to Help' page and stay connected by following our blog for weekly updates on our heartwarming canine stories. 


Want to help New Life K9s save and enrich lives, consider making a donation to our organization by clicking here.



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