U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs; National Institute of Justice The Research, Development, and Evaluation Agency of the U.S. Department of Justice U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice ProgramsNational Institute of JusticeThe Research, Development, and Evaluation Agency of the U.S. Department of Justice

Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative

2009 NIJ Conference 2009
Pamela K. Lattimore
Principal Scientist, RTI International
Research Triangle Park, N.C.

This player requires the latest version of Flash.

2009 NIJ Conference 2009
Pamela K. Lattimore
Principal Scientist, RTI International
Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Pamela Lattimore: The bottom line question really has to do with understanding the seriousness of the deficit that these individuals have — that they have very little education, that they have no job skills, that they have criminal histories that preclude people from getting good jobs, that they oftentimes have serious and life-long drug abuse problems, substance abuse problems, and oftentimes that's compounded with mental illness — sometimes serious mental illness. And these are individuals who failed out of our public school systems, who have been failed by our social services departments. And now you turn to departments of corrections and say, "We're not giving you much money, but you fix 'em now."

And I think it just calls to a need for a sustained effort. It's not a one-and-done; we're not going to be able to fix this problem in three years. To build up all the services and bring together all the agencies that we need to bring together to make this happen in a positive way is going to take time, and therefore we need patience.

NIJ: And compare that to how cancer is cured. Patience.

Lattimore: Patience. That's exactly right. I mean, I often think about the recidivism problem in the same context as cancer because it's complicated and it's intransigent — we don't understand a lot about why criminal behavior happens, what causes it, what causes it to continue — just like we don't understand a lot about cancer. So, the problems, in my mind, are similar. And we would never have gone about our "war on cancer" in the way that we've gone about our "war on crime." I mean, we absolutely would not have done that; we would not do a three-year program, which is what the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative funded — you get three years to develop a program, implement it, and somehow determine whether it worked or not and then there's no more money after that. One-and-done, you're gone — and it's just not reasonable to think that we're going to solve the crime problem in this country with this sort of scattershot approach to funding. We need sustained effort, and I think — we think — that the findings from the SVORI evaluation suggest a foundation to build on.

Reuse or Repost This Video

Information generated by the National Institute of Justice is in the public domain. It may be reproduced, published or otherwise used without permission. Please cite NIJ as the source of the information by using the following words:

"The [insert the name of your organization] gratefully acknowledges the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, for allowing us to reproduce, in part or in whole, the video [insert title]. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this video are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice."

U.S. Department of Justice Disclaimer

The content presented in these videos is not intended to create, does not create, and may not be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any matter civil or criminal.

Opinions or points of view expressed in these videos represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any products and manufacturers discussed in these videos are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Justice.

See additional Legal Policies and Disclaimers for all U.S. Department of Justice Web content.

NIJ Conference
Interview
June 2009
Pamela Lattimore, Scientist, RTI International

NIJ Multimedia Page | NIJ Home Page

Date modified: April 15, 2011