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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

Press Release
October 17, 2011
For More Information
Contact: Gretl Plessinger
Communications Director
(850) 488-0420

Research Shows Fewer inmates returning to Florida Prisons

TALLAHASSEE -- Fewer inmates are returning to prison after their release, according to a recent report on recidivism rates by the Florida Department of Corrections (DC). The recidivism rate of Florida inmates has dropped from 34% to 30%, according to research conducted by the DC’s Bureau of Research and Data Analysis.

The report shows that 30% of inmates released in 2007 and followed for three years through 2010 returned to state prison in Florida, compared to a return rate of 34% for inmates released in 2003 and followed from 2004-2006.  Although all inmates released in 2008 have not yet had a full three-year follow-up, initial indicators are that the recidivism rate will continue to remain at this lower level.

“We’re obviously heading in the right direction, and I’m particularly pleased because this means fewer citizens are being victimized and more inmates are becoming productive citizens upon release,” said Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Kenneth Tucker.

Factors related to the reduction in recidivism include the implementation of “Technical Violation Notification” letters used to report technical violations by probationers to the court in lieu of requesting a warrant. By authorizing probation officers to use alternate methods to report minor violations, there are fewer warrants issued for technical violations, fewer offenders confined to jail pending violation hearings, fewer offenders losing their jobs because they are in jail awaiting a decision, and ultimately, fewer offenders revoked and sentenced to prison. In fact, the number of offenders on supervision who were sentenced to prison for a technical violation decreased by 18% or 1,673 from 2008 to 2010.

The reduction in recidivism corresponds with a 10% decline in prison admissions, from 39,907 in 2007 to 35,721 in 2010 and an overall reduction in Florida’s crime rate.  The Criminal Justice Estimating Conference projects that admissions will continue to decrease through 2013.

It currently costs $19,469 a year to house, clothe, feed and care for an inmate in Florida prisons. The average sentence length for inmates admitted to prison in Florida in FY 2010-11 is five years.

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