Recidivism and Traumatic Brain Injury: A Vicious Cycle

Calls for criminal justice reform ring loud in Colorado. Overburdening of the corrections system is a part of the problem, driven in large part by the state’s
rate of recidivism. Half of people convicted of crimes in Colorado return to the criminal justice system within three years.

Seeking a deeper understanding of the issue, researchers at the University of Denver partnered with the Colorado Division of Probation Services. Their study examined the significant link between recidivism and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

court room

Racial Disparities and Prosecutorial Discretion

Prosecutors play a central role in punishment outcomes and exercise a wide degree of discretion. They do so with little oversight as to the equity and fair treatment of defendants. Drawing on administrative data, case files, and interviews with prosecutors, this project investigates prosecutorial guidelines, evidentiary materials, and other case characteristics to identify the central pathways by which disparities occur.

Reducing Recidivism for Justice-Involved Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

TBI, a serious public health issue, often reduces executive function and impulse control which can increase criminal behavior and make it more difficult to successfully complete probation or parole. Approximately 50% of incarcerated individuals have TBI. This project examines the impact of a screening program that offers training and support for probationers identified with a TBI-related cognitive impairment and the probation officers who supervise them.