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

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary

Methodology

Only inmates released from Florida prisons from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2010 were included in the study with the following exceptions:

  • Inmates who died or were executed have been omitted from the calculation of recidivism rates.
  • Inmates who are missing information on the factors of interest are omitted.
  • Inmates with more than one release in a calendar year have only the first such release included.
  • Inmates with detainers in place at the time of release are omitted.

This methodology follows the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) Performance-Based Measures System counting rules definition of recidivism.
For this study, survival analysis techniques are used to compute recidivism rates and to define the statistical models used to determine which factors significantly influence recidivism rates.  The basic rates for tables and graphs are computed from Kaplan-Meier estimates of the survival curve using right-censored data.  The analyses of factor significance are conducted using Cox models (proportional hazards regression) of the same data.  The analysis used a 5% level of significance to determine the factors in order of importance, and a stepwise selection routine for determining which factors to include.
The following variables were considered for inclusion in the model:

  • Gender is Male – Yes/No
  • Number of Prior Prison Commitments
  • Age at release
  • Number of Disciplinary Reports in Current Incarceration
  • Most Recent TABE score (education level in grade equivalents)
  • Time Served in Prison, Current Incarceration in Months
  • Worst Offense is Murder/Manslaughter – Yes/No
  • Worst Offense is Sex Offense – Yes/No
  • Worst Offense is Robbery – Yes/No
  • Worst Offense is Other Violent Offense like Assault or Kidnapping – Yes/No
  • Race is Black – Yes/No
  • Ethnicity is Hispanic – Yes/No
  • Supervision to Follow Prison – Yes/No
  • Low Custody (Minimum or Community Custody) – Yes/No
  • High Custody (Close Custody) – Yes/No
  • Number of Burglary offenses in criminal history
  • Number of Drug offenses in criminal history
  • Number of Theft/Fraud offenses in criminal history
  • Number of Weapons offenses in criminal history
  • Diagnosed Mental Illness – Yes/No
  • Substance Abuse Severity Score
  • Inmate-Reported Drug Screening Score
  • Inmate Concerned about Child’s Welfare – Yes/No
  • Inmate Extremely Concerned about Child’s Welfare – Yes/No
  • Inmate has No Enemies – Yes/No
  • Inmate has Enemies – Yes/No
  • Inmate’s Family is in Crisis – Yes/No
  • Inmate’s Family has a Negative Influence on the Inmate – Yes/No
  • Inmate’s Family has a Positive Influence on the Inmate – Yes/No
  • Inmate’s Friends have a Negative Influence on the Inmate – Yes/No
  • Inmate’s Friends have a Positive Influence on the Inmate – Yes/No
  • Inmate’s Spouse has a Negative Influence on the Inmate – Yes/No
  • Inmate’s Spouse has a Positive Influence on the Inmate – Yes/No
  • Inmate has No Spouse – Yes/No
  • Inmate has a Negative Relationship with Their Attorney – Yes/No
  • Inmate has a Positive Relationship with Their Attorney – Yes/No
  • Inmate has other Negative Influences in Their Life – Yes/No
  • Inmate has other Positive Influences in Their Life – Yes/No

It should be noted that for the "Worst" Offense factors the hierarchy is Murder, Sex Offense, Robbery, and Other Violent Offense. Each inmate can only be designated in at most one of the categories.  For example, if he has committed both sex offenses and robbery, he will be considered in the "Worst Offense is Sex Offense" category, not in the "Worst Offense is Robbery" category.

Also, for the criminal history factors, only those offenses for which the inmate received either a Florida prison sentence or Florida community supervision sentence are considered.  Arrests in Florida that resulted in other sanctions, such as fines or county jail sentences, are not considered.  Arrests, supervision, or prison sentences outside of Florida are not considered unless they are part of the inmate's Florida sentence.