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2018 Update on Prisoner Recidivism: A 9-Year Follow-up Period (2005-2014)

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2018

Examines the recidivism patterns of former prisoners during a 9-year follow-up period.


Examines the recidivism patterns of former prisoners during a 9-year follow-up period. The report provides data on the number and types of crimes prisoners commit after release, by offender characteristics, commitment offense, whether the arrest was within or outside the state of release, and whether released prisoners had no subsequent arrests during the follow-up period. It also shows how recidivism and desistance patterns change when using longer or shorter follow-up periods, including cumulative and annual arrest percentages, year of first arrest following release from prison, and the total number of arrests of released prisoners. Findings are based on data from BJS's Recidivism Study of State Prisoners Released in 2005 data collection, which tracked a sample of former prisoners from 30 states for 9 years following release in 2005. Source data are from prisoner records reported by state departments of corrections to BJS's National Corrections Reporting Program and national criminal history records from the FBI's Interstate Identification Index and state criminal history repositories via the International Justice and Public Safety Network.

  • The 401,288 state prisoners released in 2005 had 1,994,000 arrests during the 9-year period, an average of 5 arrests per released prisoner. Sixty percent of these arrests occurred during years 4 through 9.
  • An estimated 68% of released prisoners were arrested within 3 years, 79% within 6 years, and 83% within 9 years.
  • Eighty-two percent of prisoners arrested during the 9-year period were arrested within the first 3 years.
  • Almost half (47%) of prisoners who did not have an arrest within 3 years of release were arrested during years 4 through 9.
  • Forty-four percent of released prisoners were arrested during the first year following release, while 24% were arrested during year-9.

Date Published: May 23, 2018