A new report from the Council on Criminal Justice digests some recent recidivism data is out, explaining, among other findings, that the return-to-prison rate has dropped, that rearrest rates remain high for people leaving prison, but that most of those rearrests are for public order offenses.
And a recent article looks Inside the Black Box of Prosecutor Discretion. From the abstract:
Our study tells a story of surprising severity in how prosecutors dispose of a relatively mild case with no harm to victims, creating potentially devastating consequences for an offender suffering from apparent mental illness. Taking advantage of our vignette-survey design, which presents the exact same case to hundreds of prosecutors, we also document wild heterogeneity in prosecutor charging practices, with some dismissing the case out of hand and others demanding months or years of incarceration. We also find that many prosecutors lack meaningful guidelines or supervision. Nonetheless, in our review of their qualitative explanations, we also find prosecutors aspiring to do justice, concerned about harm to victims and the rehabilitation of offenders, and considering their mental health and financial wherewithal. From these findings, we shed light in an otherwise theoretically rich but empirically lacking area of criminal scholarship.