The Florida Prison Recidivism Report is produced annually by the Bureau of Research and Data Analysis within the Florida Department of Corrections. The study examines the recidivism rate of Florida's released inmate population. While the use of recidivism as a performance indicator of the state's rehabilitative efforts can be debated, the analysis itself is of significant public importance. Given that 86% of inmates housed in Florida prisons today will one day be released back into our communities, those responsible for the state’s planning and budgeting need to know the likelihood that an inmate who is released today will one day return to Florida’s prison system. More importantly, for the public and those charged with ensuring public safety, the state’s recidivism rate is an important measure of criminal activity produced by released prisoners.
When discussing recidivism rates, the factors that influence recidivism must be considered. For example, recidivism rates vary across age groups, racial/ethnic groups, and gender. To determine where to devote correctional and community resources, we must identify which groups are most likely to fail when they are released from Florida’s prisons and which groups are likely to successfully re-enter society.
This study finds that the factors that influence Florida's recidivism rate are generally consistent with existing research. A report by the Pew Center on the States shows the overall recidivism rate (return to prison for any reason within three years of release) for releases from 33 states participating in the study was approximately 43%. 1 A 2014 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics of multiple states reports an overall recidivism rate of nearly 50%.2
It must be noted that, unlike many states, Florida paroles very few inmates, and less than one-third of released inmates have supervision following their release. Historically, inmates who are supervised following release have recidivated at a higher rate than those without post-release supervision. Since fewer of Florida's released inmates participate in post-prison supervision, Florida’s recidivism rate is lower than that of other states.
1 Pew Center on the States, State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America's Prisons
(Washington, DC: The Pew Charitable Trusts, April 2011)
2 United States. U.S. Department of Justice. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010.
By Matthew R. Durose, Alexia D. Cooper, Ph.D., and Howard N. Snyder, Ph.D. Washington D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.