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Following Incarceration, Most Released Offenders Never Return to Prison

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Dated: September 2014
William Rhodes; Gerald Gaes; Jeremy Luallen; Ryan Kling; Tom Rich; Michael Shively
Date Published
September 2014
23 pages

Using data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' newly revised National Corrections Reporting Program, this study examined prison admissions and releases over a 13-year period in 17 States and over shorter periods in other States to determine the rate at which individual offenders return to prison.


Recent studies suggest that 50 percent of offenders released from State prisons return to prison within 3 to 5 years. In contrast, the current study indicates that approximately two of every three offenders who enter and exit prison will never return to prison. The study distinguished between the traditional event-based sampling methods for studying recidivism and its alternative offender-based method, explaining how each is useful but how the two approaches answer different policy questions. (Publisher abstract modified)