BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Home  | Data Collection Detail

Data Collection: Recidivism of State Prisoners
Status: Active
Frequency: 1983, 1994, 2005
Latest data available: 2005

BJS uses criminal history records to study the number and types of crimes committed by state prisoners both prior to and following their release. The first study tracked a sample of state prisoners released in 11 states in 1983, and the second study followed a sample of state prisoners released in 15 states in 1994. Both studies had a 3-year follow-up period. The latest study tracked a sample of prisoners released in 30 states in 2005 for 5 years after release. These studies documented the arrest, conviction, and incarceration experiences of the former inmates within and outside of the state that released them.

On This Page

Data Experts

  • Alexia L. Cooper, Ph.D., BJS Statistician
  • Matthew R. Durose, BJS Statistician
  • Howard N. Snyder, Ph.D., Deputy Director
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    Collection Period

    2005 - 2010

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    Methodology

    States were selected for the 2005 prisoner recidivism study based on their ability to provide prisoner records and the FBI or state identification numbers on persons released from state correctional facilities in 2005. This study estimated the recidivism patterns of 404,638 persons released in 2005 from state prisons in 30 states. In 2005, these states held 76% of the U.S. population. A representative sample of inmates released in 2005 was developed for each of the 30 states using data reported by state departments of corrections to BJSs National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP), yielding a final sample of 68,597 persons. BJS used the state and FBI identification numbers supplied by the departments of corrections to collect national criminal history records on the sample of former prisoners.

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    Changes Over Time

    Given the changes in the characteristics of the U.S. prison population, an increase in the number of states participating in the study, and improvements made to the nation's criminal history records since the mid-1990s, direct comparisons of the recidivism estimates from the study on prisoners released in 30 states in 2005 should not be compared to those from the previous BJS prisoner recidivism studies. For more information on the factors that affect the comparability of the estimates from the BJS prisoner recidivism studies, see Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010, NCJ 244205, BJS web, April 2014.

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    Publications & Products

    The following publications and products were generated by BJS using data from this collection.

    Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010 Examines the 5-year post-release offending patterns of persons released from state prisons in 2005 by offender characteristics, prior criminal history, and commitment offense.
      Press Release | PDF (1.5M) | ASCII file (35K) | Delimited-comma format (CSV) (Zip format 44K)
    Part of the Recidivism of Prisoners Released Series

    Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994 Presents, for the first time, data on the rearrest, reconviction, and reimprisonment of 9,691 male sex offenders, including 4,295 child molesters, who were tracked for 3 years after their release from prisons in 15 States in 1994.
      Press Release | PDF (521K) | ASCII file (107K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 76K) | Codebooks and Datasets | To order paper version


    Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1994 Reports on the rearrest, reconviction, and reincarceration of former inmates who were tracked for 3 years after their release from prisons in 15 States in 1994.
      Press Release | PDF (195K) | ASCII file (51K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 40K) | Codebooks and Datasets | To order paper version
    Part of the Recidivism of Prisoners Released Series

    Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1983 An analysis of the criminal records of more than 16,000 men and women, representing the almost 109,000 offenders who were released from prisons in 11 States during 1983.
      PDF (159K) | Codebooks and Datasets
    Part of the Recidivism of Prisoners Released Series

    Correctional Populations in the United States, 1985 This statistical report on correctional populations in the United States for 1985 is a consolidation of data collected in various statistical programs currently maintained by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
      PDF
    Part of the Correctional Populations in the United States Series

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    Related Topics

  • Corrections | Recidivism
  • Corrections | Recidivism | Returns by type
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