Terrorism Recidivism Study

Terrorism Recidivism Study

By: Grace Meyer    Email:  meye8826@vandals.uidaho.edu

Home Town: Sandpoint, Idaho    High School: Sandpoint High School, 2019

Major: Psychology, Sociology-Ineql & Glblztn Emph, Sociology-Criminology Emph
Department: Psychology/Communication Studies, Sociology & Anthropology
College: College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

About the TRS

After the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the government enacted policies that resulted in the capture and detention of alleged terrorists to be held in Guantanamo Bay. The rush to hold those involved in international terrorism led to a quick rise in population at the naval camp, with over seven hundred people detained throughout its history (Renard, 2020). With only thirty-nine people remaining (5% of the total population), many of those previously detained have been fully repatriated (Rosenberg, 2021). Unfortunately, although there are numerous sources that summarize the demographics of individuals detained in Guantanamo (see, for example, Beecham, Yazici, et al., 2020), there is no collective source of information on the recidivism rates of these individuals. Without this information, the ability to understand the need for and effectiveness of such a facility is limited. Results indicate that extremists that are processed through the criminal justice system and detained in the federal or state prison system have low recidivism rates at about 1.6% (Hodwitz, 2019). Guantanamo, however, is part of the military system and, while it appears that the criminal justice system is effective at reducing recidivism, we cannot say the same about the military system since our understanding of recidivism of Guantanamo Bay detainees is limited.

The TRS study consists of two phases. The first part involved gathering information on the recidivism patterns of those processed through the traditional criminal justice system, resulting in the aforementioned 1.6% recidivism rate. The second phase or Guantanamo Recidivism Study, examines those processed through the military system, leading to detention in Guantanamo. This phase entails collecting information on the history, capture, detention, transfer, and most importantly, recidivism of detainees. It gauges the effectiveness of the military system in deterring recidivism and will allow us to compare the military system to the criminal justice system, providing a more comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon.

Methodology and Objective

I . Identifying previous and current detainees at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Utilizing publicly accessible sources including declassified government documents, public databases, media articles, and systematic and web-based search engines. This allows for the discovery of publicly available information on detainees and the collecting of information leading up to their detainment at Guantanamo Bay, as well as the results during and after their time in custody.

II. Coding case information on each detainee. Assigning text-based and numeric values to variable fields. Performing quality control to ensure accurate and detailed information is entered into the database

III. Completing data analysis to understand the complete findings generated from what is entered into the database.

The objective of the TRS database is to compile and understand the detention, release, and recidivism of Guantanamo detainees. Although we know a great deal about recidivism rates among regular apolitical offenders, we know very little about political offenders or extremists. Examining recidivism rates will help us understand how to prepare for the release of incarceratedterrorists and how to potentially mitigate further offending. Do military facilities reduce recidivism? Are they as effective as traditional criminal justice facilities? What factors in both facilities are likely to decrease recidivism? In other words, a complete understanding of the criminal actions perpetrated by detainees is important for future policy.

About Grace Meyer

Grace Meyer is a senior at University of Idaho from Sandpoint, Idaho. She is majoring in Criminology, Psychology, Sociology (Globalization and Inequalities Emphasis), and minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is also an ambassador and intern for the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences, as well as a member of Alpha Kappa Delta, Psi Chi, and Criminology Club. Grace has also been in the Inside Out program for three semesters, which is led by Dr. Omi Hodwitz. Her primary research interests are terrorism, recidivism, and corrections. She intends to continue her education in graduate school after her time at University of Idaho.


Products Produced:

Type: Title: Date Published/Presented: DOI:
Poster Terrorism Recidivism Study April 25, 2022

Additional Project Information:

Year in College Project Started:  Senior

Faculty Advisor:   Omi  Hodwitz

Faculty Advisor Email:   omi@uidaho.edu

Faculty Advisor Website:  

Funding Source:  University of Idaho Office of Undergraduate Research

External Link to Project Information:  

Project Location:   Moscow, Idaho