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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Michael D. Crews, Secretary

Conclusion and Related Reports

Recidivism—the reoffending and reimprisonment—of released state prison inmates is an important policy issue because:

  • a substantial amount ($1.3 billion in FY 2002) is spent by Florida to imprison offenders, and
  • each year many offenders (over 26,000 in FY 2002) are released from Florida prisons.

To address the issue properly, researchers must use the best data available and the most appropriate statistical tools to:

  • measure recidivism
  • account for what influences it
  • identify what may reduce it
  • determine how much it may be lowered.

This report is designed to help readers understand how recidivism data is collected and analyzed so they can obtain and use inmate recidivism statistics appropriately. The document measures recidivism rates for inmates released from Department facilities and reports the effects on those rates of factors that are readily measurable from Department data sources at the time an inmate is released. The document also reports a methodology for analyzing how certain inmate characteristics influence recidivism rates. This report's findings should guide evaluations by the Department and others that use inmate recidivism rates as performance measures regarding Florida.

  1. The reoffense and reimprisonment rates reported here are consistent with results from large-scale, national studies of state prison inmate recidivism.

  2. Consistent with other large studies, this report finds that certain factors influence recidivism rates.

  3. Evaluations of prison inmates that use reoffense or reimprisonment rates as outcome measures should take certain (or similar) factors into account by controlling for their statistical effects on recidivism rates.

  4. The data described and analyzed for this report provide a basis for analyzing the performance of Department activities, functions, and programs that are designed or expected to reduce recidivism.