Manager of State Initiatives
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Greg Glod | September 25, 2015
The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics released a troubling report today on the likelihood of ex-offenders finding themselves back in the criminal justice system after being released from prison.
Taking a sample of over 68,000 inmates released in 2005, the report estimates that 77% of offenders post-incarceration in during that year were re-arrested within five years. This totaled over 5.5 million arrests in the time span. The sample came from the 30 states that make up three-quarters of the released prisoners nationwide.
Interestingly, prisoners released on community supervision were just as likely to be arrested (77%) as those released unconditionally. At first blush, this may lead individuals to believe that community supervision is not effective at reducing recidivism. However, an apples-to-apples comparison cannot be made between the two data sets, for the following reasons:
With our nation spending a total of over $80 billion on corrections each year, we should be getting a better return on our investment. States that have committed to criminal justice reform such as Texas have shown that greater emphasis on treatment and community supervision for low-level offenders, reduces prison populations, reduces crime, and reduces recidivism. The federal government and states that have not reformed should use these numbers as a wake-up call to follow proven methods to keep their neighborhoods safer.