Although there’s variations on just what exactly constitutes recidivism, it’s definition simply put, is a person’s relapse back into criminal acts after receiving penalty from a previous crime. It is measured and tracked by the end result of rearrest/reconviction. Generally followed up by and through a one to five year period. So how exactly are you involved? Good you asked.

Families, Victims, the Justice system and its Employees (Judges, Officers, Attorneys, Prison Development Corps) Taxpayers, and the star attraction You, all heavily involved.

As 95% of those incarcerated will be released at some point in time, it’s believed that the majority will find themselves back where they started unfortunately. Although numbers constantly fluctuate and vary state to state, chew on these fun facts:

The average cost to house an inmate is $31,000.

New York is the most expensive at $60,000.

Country with the lowest population in prison is Norway.

Guess who had the highest?

The odds that someone will fuck up relapse/re-offend within… 

1 YEAR: 56%

3 YEARS: 67%

5YEARS: 76%

*Which dispels and throws out a previous (BJS) Bureau of Justice Statistics report presenting recidivism rates declined with each passing year. It concluded the offender would be less likely to relapse after the first year.

33% of relapses are due to parole/probation violations.


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Property offenders (Theft) have the highest relapse rate. Awe shucks.

I’ll just need your social security number…

Youth offenders are at highest risk, with African American males having the highest relapse rate.

The industries with the least amount of difficulty for someone with a felony to have opportunities are Construction and Food.

Industry with the most difficulty are Health Care and Education.

I’ll add to that business. Anything to do with the handling of money, as I’ve dealt with personally is a real pain in having to explain. Now is any of this really surprising? Maybe. Maybe not. Is it still disturbing to hear? Of course.

Anybody who’s been privvy to the joys of probation will tell you, you live in the realm of having one foot in prison at all times. There’s so many pitfalls that it’ll screw with you.

Bear in mind that the data collected tends to get outdated rather quickly, leading to numerous inaccuracies. How criminal history records have been stored and technological advances play a part. As well as the crucial follow up to when someone has been arrested (alleged relapse).

Yet that does not necessarily mean nor result in being found guilty (no relapse). Not to mention, the difference of opinion amongst what constitutes recidivism, and the very meaning of the word. Is it measured by an arrest, or the actual conviction. Go figure.

What does Recidivism all mean?

Its a gauge, that’s all. You dictate your life by the choices you make. This should be viewed as a motivator and an opportunity to remind yourself that your life is worth more than being labeled as another sad statistic. You have the power to affect those numbers. Be different and affect that change.

Till then, Educate yourself on your situation, cause nobody’s gonna do it for you. Stay well and out of trouble.

-The Educated Felon