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Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1983

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 1989
13 pages
A. J. Beck; B. E. Shipley
Publication Series
Based on a sample of over 16,000 prisoners (of a total of 108,580) released in 11 States during 1983, findings indicated that within three years, 62.5 percent were rearrested for a felony or misdemeanor, 46.8 percent were reconvicted, and 41.4 percent were reimprisoned. Prior to their release, the prisoners had been charged with an average of 12 offenses each, two-thirds had been arrested for a violent offense in the past, and two-thirds had previously been jailed.
An estimated 68,000 of the releasees were charged with more than 326,000 new felonies and serious misdemeanors. Recidivism rates, inversely related to the age of the prisoner at the time of release, were highest during the first year and highest among men, blacks, Hispanics, and persons who had not completed high school. The more extensive a prisoner's prior arrest record, the higher the rate of recidivism; the combination age and number of prior adult arrests were strongly related to recidivism. More than 68 percent of prisoners released for property offenses were rearrested within three years, compared to 59.6 percent of violent offenders, 54.6 percent of public-order offenders, and 50.4 percent of drug offenders. Approximately 40 percent of the releasees had previously escaped from prison, been absent without leave, or had a prior parole or probation revocation. The amount of time served was not systematically linked to the likelihood of rearrest. Released prisoners were often rearrested for the same type of crime for which they served in prison; released rapists were more than ten times more likely than nonrapists to be rearrested for rape and released murderers were five times as likely to be rearrested for homicide than other offenders. 2 figures, 20 tables, appendix.

Date Created: December 17, 2009