Further, in this study, BJS reported that failure rates--rearrest,
reconviction, or reincarceration--in the first 3 months following release
were more than three times higher than failure rates in the last 3 months of
the follow-up period.21
Also, in its most recent survey of state prison inmates--conducted in
1997--BJS obtained self-reported data about current offenses and prior
criminal histories. Although not a study of recidivism, per se, the survey
data indicated that 76 percent of state prison inmates had one or more
prior sentences, and 65 percent had one or more prior incarcerations.
Regarding individual states, a June 2000 report by the New York State
New York State Study Reported
Department of Correctional Services presents return-to-custody
a Recidivism Rate of 40 Percent
(readmission) information regarding the 26,932 inmates released in 1996
from the state's correctional facilities.22 According to the report,
40 percent (10,795) of the released inmates were returned to custody
within 3 years;
almost two-thirds of the 10,795 inmates who were returned were
recommitted within the first 18 months following release; and
of the 26,932 inmates released in 1996, 24 percent were returned for
violating parole, and 16 percent were returned committing new crimes.
Also, regarding readmission for committing new crimes, the report noted
that more offenders were returned to custody for committing a drug
offense (45 percent) than any other offense category. For example, the
next highest readmission categories reported were property and other
offenses (24 percent) and violent felony offenses (23 percent).
During our review, AOUSC officials questioned the value of an 18-year-old study--that is,
BJS' study of prisoners released from state prisons in 1983--and suggested that we delete
reference to it. We retained reference to the study because it was the most comprehensive
national study we identified regarding recidivism of prisoners released from state prisons.
New York State Department of Correctional Services, "1996 Releases: Three Year Post
Release Follow-Up" (June 2000).
GAO-01-483 Prisoner Release Trends and Reintegration Programs