The impact of trauma-informed care on lowering Recidivism rates

Recidivism rates, or the rate at which individuals who have been previously incarcerated return to prison, are a pressing concern in modern-day society. Many people who reoffend experience similar patterns of trauma throughout their lives, which are often exacerbated by the incarceration process. Trauma-informed care (TIC) is an approach that is gaining traction in correctional facilities and may be the key to reducing recidivism rates. In this blog post, we will discuss the impact of trauma-informed care on lowering recidivism rates.

Trauma-informed care is an approach that recognizes the prevalence and impact of trauma in the incarcerated population. It supports prevention, intervention, and post-release services that are specifically designed to address the needs of trauma survivors. This approach takes into account the experiences of the individual and seeks to understand how these experiences have shaped their behavior.

Studies have shown that trauma-informed care can significantly reduce recidivism rates. A study conducted by the Urban Institute found that incarcerated youth who received TIC services had a 13% lower risk of recidivism than those who did not. This finding is supported by other research, which shows that TIC can promote positive outcomes, such as increased feelings of safety, reduced stress, and improved mental health.

One of the primary ways that trauma-informed care can impact recidivism rates is through the rehabilitation process. By providing trauma-informed therapy and support, individuals can address the root causes of their behavior and develop the skills needed to avoid reoffending. This approach recognizes that many individuals who are incarcerated have experienced traumatic events, which can lead to maladaptive coping mechanisms and criminal behavior. Trauma-informed care seeks to address these underlying issues by providing specialized care that is designed to meet the unique needs of each individual.

In addition to rehabilitation, trauma-informed care can also impact recidivism rates through the correctional environment. Traditional correctional facilities are often designed to emphasize control and punishment rather than rehabilitation. This can lead to increased stress and trauma for incarcerated individuals, making it more likely that they will reoffend upon release. Trauma-informed care seeks to create a safe and supportive environment that promotes healing, rather than further trauma.

Moreover, trauma-informed care emphasizes the importance of aftercare services, which can have a significant impact on reducing recidivism rates. These services include things like job training, housing assistance, and peer support groups. By providing these resources, individuals are better equipped to reintegrate into their communities and find a sense of purpose in life after incarceration. They can use the skills they have learned through TIC to establish relationships and a sense of purpose, making it less likely that they will reoffend.

In conclusion, the impact of trauma-informed care on reducing recidivism rates cannot be overstated. By providing specialized care and aftercare services that address the underlying causes of criminal behavior, individuals are better equipped to avoid reoffending. Moreover, TIC can create a safer and more supportive environment within correctional facilities, reducing the trauma that incarcerated individuals experience. As more correctional facilities adopt a trauma-informed approach, we can expect to see a significant reduction in recidivism rates and better outcomes for those who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system.


Barnert ES, Perry R, Morris RE, et al. Trauma-Informed Juvenile Justice Systems: A Systematic Review of Definitions and Core Components. Child Maltreat. 2020;25(2):134-146. doi:10.1177/1077559519837183

Finkelstein, N. (2020). What is trauma-informed care and why is it important? National Council for Behavioral Health. Retrieved from

National Institute of Corrections. (2014). The impact of trauma on individuals and the justice system. Retrieved from

Sullivan, C.M., Holton, E.F. & King, B.P. (2015). Reducing re-victimization and incarceration among women who have experienced violence. Criminology & Public Policy, 14(4), 589-596. Doi: 10.1111/1745-9133.12162

Urban Institute. (2018). Leveraging trauma-informed care to reduce recidivism among youth. Retrieved from

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