The Florida Department of Corrections defines the standard recidivism rate as the percentage of inmates who, within two years of release from prison, commit any crime that leads to another term of incarceration or community supervision with this agency
The 24-month follow-up period is based on the date of a new offense, not the date of readmission to prison or supervision. Offenders who return to prison for a technical violation of supervision are not counted as recidivists unless they committed a new offense. Offenders do count as recidivists for a new offense while on supervision even when, as often happens, the conviction for the offense occurs after they return to prison for technical violations. For more information on the methodology used to calculate rates for this report see the Technical Appendix.
The Department uses two years as the standard follow-up period so the rates can best be used to evaluate sentencing policies as well as prison programs and interventions that are intended to reduce recidivism. Two years allows enough time since release for recidivism rates to become stable and reliable measurements. Also, 24-month rates are more likely than those from a longer follow-up period to indicate any effect on recidivism from incarceration as opposed to post-release factors.
Two cohorts of released inmates are used to establish the Department's standard recidivism rate. The general recidivism rate of 33.8% is calculated for all inmates released since July 1993. The latest recidivism rate of 34.7% is calculated for inmates released during Fiscal Year 1996-97 (July through June), the most recent release cohort who all have a follow-up period of at least 24 months
This report provides the latest recidivism rate because the public and policymakers often request the most recent available information. For more information on recidivism rates based on Fiscal Year release cohorts see Recidivism Rates by Release Year. For information about what influences recidivism rates see Factors Affecting Recidivism Rates.