Generally, an inmate recidivism rate is the percentage of inmates released during a specific time period who commit a new offense within a certain time following their release.
Recidivism rates are calculated based on a release cohort, a group of inmates released during a specified time period. The release cohort used to measure recidivism rates may vary. For example, a recidivism rate may be calculated for inmates released during a Fiscal Year (July through June) or for all inmates released since a certain date. This report primarily relies on the latter method, calculating recidivism rates for inmates released from Department of Corrections custody since July 1993.
Recidivism rates must be calculated over a specified follow-up period. As more time passes since a group of inmates was released from prison, the number of inmates who recidivate grows, so the percentage of released offenders who commit new offenses increases. For example, the recidivism rate measured at 36 months after release is higher than the rate measured at 12 months after release. Recidivism rates can be compared between follow-up periods for the same release cohort. However, when comparing rates for different release cohorts, one should use rates based on the same follow-up time after release.
This report provides data on general recidivism rates up to 78 months following release. However, not all released inmates used to calculate these rates have been out of prison this long. In order to correct for differences among inmates in the time since release, this report relies on a statistical procedure for estimating rates that accounts for the follow-up period for each inmate released. The method includes all inmates released but only counts them for recidivism rates based on their current individual follow-up periods. For more information on the methodology and statistical procedure used to calculate rates for this report see the Technical Appendix.
The general recidivism rate for inmates released since July 1993 from Florida Department of Corrections facilities is 33.8% at 24 months following release from prison. In other words, about 34 of 100 inmates released from prison during this time were convicted of another offense within two years. Rates in this report can be interpreted as current probabilities of reoffending: there is a 33.8% probability that an inmate released from prison will commit a new offense within two years for which they will be sentenced to either prison or state supervision.
For information about the Department's standard measure of recidivism rates see Standard Recidivism Rates. For information about what influences recidivism rates see Factors Affecting Recidivism Rates.