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Publication Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010

Alexia D. Cooper, Ph.D., Matthew R. Durose, Howard N. Snyder, Ph.D.

April 22, 2014    NCJ 244205

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. It provides estimates on the number and types of crimes former inmates commit both prior to their imprisonment and after release. The report includes different measures of recidivism, including a new arrest, court adjudication, conviction, and incarceration for either a new sentence or a technical violation. It also documents the extent to which the released prisoners committed crimes in states other than the one that released them. Data are from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' Recidivism Study of State Prisoners Released in 2005, which tracked a sample of former inmates from 30 states for five years following release in 2005. The findings are based on prisoner records obtained from the state departments of corrections through the National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) and criminal history records obtained through requests to the FBI's Interstate Identification Index (III) and state repositories via the International Justice and Public Safety Network (Nlets).


Among state prisoners released in 30 states in 2005— 

  • About two-thirds (67.8%) of released prisoners were arrested for a new crime within 3 years, and three-quarters (76.6%) were arrested within 5 years. 
  • Within 5 years of release, 82.1% of property offenders were arrested for a new crime, compared to 76.9% of drug offenders, 73.6% of public order offenders, and 71.3% of violent offenders.
  • More than a third (36.8%) of all prisoners who were arrested within 5 years of release were arrested within the first 6 months after release, with more than half (56.7%) arrested by the end of the first year.
  • Two in five (42.3%) released prisoners were either not arrested or arrested once in the 5 years after their release.
  • A sixth (16.1%) of released prisoners were responsible for almost half (48.4%) of the nearly 1.2 million arrests that occurred in the 5-year follow-up period.
  • An estimated 10.9% of released prisoners were arrested in a state other than the one that released them during the 5-year follow-up period
  • Within 5 years of release, 84.1% of inmates who were age 24 or younger at release were arrested, compared to 78.6% of inmates ages 25 to 39 and 69.2% of those age 40 or older.

Part of the Recidivism of Prisoners Released Series

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