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Recidivism in Pennsylvania State Correctional Institutions, 1995-2000

NCJ Number
Robert Flaherty
Date Published
October 2002
12 pages
This report presents recidivism statistics for offenders released from the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for the period 1995 through 2000.
As used in this report, "recidivism" is defined as "return to the custody of a State correctional institution for any reason." The data show that 3 years after release, the overall recidivism rate declined from 47.7 percent in 1995 to 42.3 percent in 1998. One year after release, the return rate declined from 26.9 percent in 1995 to 24.2 percent in 2000. Six months after release, the return rate dropped from 15.3 percent in 1995 to 13.5 percent in 2000. Offenders released on parole had significantly higher return rates than offenders released after completion of their sentences. Parolees released on re-parole returned at slightly higher rates than those on initial parole. When a parolee is returned to prison, it is far more likely to be for a technical violation of parole than for a new crime. Male offenders had significantly higher recidivism rates than female offenders, with 43 percent of male offenders released in 1998 returning to prison within 3 years, compared with 33 percent of female offenders. Overall, property offenders had the highest rates of return to prison. Unmarried offender had slightly higher return rates than married offenders, with 44 percent of single offenders released in 1998 returned to prison within 3 years, compared with 41 percent of married offenders. Parolees who were involved in misconduct in prison in the year prior to their release had higher return rates than either parolees with misconduct or inmates who had completed their sentence with or without misconduct in prison in the year prior to sentence completion. 10 tables and appended description of methodology