What is Recidivism?

In a simple definition recidivism is a public safety failure rate. It is also a new crime by convicted felony inmates and probationers. 


  • Age, race, and gender significant predictors of rearrest
  • Serious drug problem indicator of rearrest but not new drug crime
  • Primary offense and sentence length affect recidivism rate among inmates
  • Not a strong relationship between program participation and rearrest
  • Young, male, minority, property offenders most likely to recidivate

Data and Methods: Recidivism Rate Curves(Florida)

Chart 1 displays the reoffense and reimprisonment rates for state prison inmates released from July 1995 through June 2001 (release cohort). The lower axis indicates the number of months (up to 60) since release from prison (follow-up period). The side axis shows the percentage of inmates who recidivated. The graphed curves mark the percentage of total inmates released who reoffended and who returned to prison for a new crime over the available follow-up period.
Chart 2 below displays the reoffense rates for male and female inmates. Clearly, female inmates appear to reoffend at lower rates than males, suggesting that gender influences recidivism.
 The chart below are statistics discovered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics which shows reentry trends in The United States.
Maurice Cusson and Peirre Pinsonneault who are the authors of “The Decision to Give Up Crime” in 1996, concluded that punishment produces four types of reactions in the offenders: increased estimate of the probability of punishment for a new crime; increased difficulty in coping with and accepting imprisonment, especially as offenders become older; increased awareness of the weight of previous convictions on the severity of subsequent sentences; and increased fear of punishment. In general, as the experience of punishment grows, career criminals may gradually become dissatisfied with their way of life and decide to give up criminal activity. With stricter and longer punishment time, criminals will fear going back to prison.