The University of Nebraska system has released the latest episode of its "Leading Nebraska" podcast series, featuring research at the University of Nebraska at Omaha aimed at reducing rates at which criminal offenders are re-arrested.
The podcast highlights research led by Ebonie Epinger, a doctoral student in UNO’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Epinger studies patterns that can lead to past criminal offenders being arrested again, or recidivism.
In Nebraska, approximately 1 of every 4 criminal offenders is re-arrested. Reducing recidivism rates can protect correctional resources and improve public safety.
"The public wants to feel safe. They want these individuals to be law-abiding citizens," Epinger says in the podcast. "But if recidivism is an issue, that’s not going to happen."
Epinger and her UNO colleagues examine risk factors like mental and physical health and family background that can contribute to recidivism, with the goal of translating their findings into policies and programs that can help people more successfully transition from jail to the community. Ultimately, the goal is an improved corrections environment and safer communities.
UNO, home to the country’s No. 1 online criminology and criminal justice program, is a national leader in the field.
"It makes me feel really good – and a little dumbfounded – that I can be part of a project that could have such an impact," Epinger says.
The "Leading Nebraska" podcast shares stories of researchers, students and educators across the NU system’s four campuses who are growing the state’s workforce and quality of life. Listeners may follow “Leading Nebraska” here.