New Recidivism Statistics Crush Old: How Does 82% Sound?

Many city and county correctional systems boast of low recidivism rates, thanks to their favorite programs that try to prepare inmates for a better life outside bars. Even some states do likewise. But these measured rates are apparently always based on three-year followup studies. One new study has gone outside the box, and measured recidivism rates over a 20-year period. That study revealed the true rate was as high as 82 percent!

According to a 3/7/10 article by Michael Lollar appearing in The Commercial Appeal, Tennessee’s DOC claims recidivism rates of 51 percent when studied for a three-year period; this compares to national studies that average 65 percent over the same time period. But the 20-year study by Correctional Counseling, Inc., a Memphis-based behavioral therapy firm, followed 1,381 inmates that first did time between 1987 and 1991. Their psychologists found that the recidivism rate numbers keep going up over time, and they’re higher because most other studies don’t count incarcerations after the three-year basis, nor do they count subsequent incarcerations that take place in other states, nor arrests followed by probation or parole in any locale.,

According to the 20-year study, which was designed to compare inmates that received “moral reconation therapy” versus inmates that received only standard counseling, 94 percent of the latter group had been rearrested and 82 percent of them wound up behind bars. For those getting the new therapy, 81 percent had been rearrested and 61 percent were re-incarcerated.

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