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76% of Released Inmates Arrested Again Within 5 Years: Report

Image: Prisoners from Sacramento County await processing after arriving at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, Calif.
In this photo taken Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, prisoners from Sacramento County await processing after arriving at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, Calif. California counties are thwarting the state's efforts to comply with a federal court order to reduce it's inmate population by sending state prisons far more convicts than anticipated including a record number of second-strikers. The state is trying to comply with a landmark restructuring of its criminal justice system through a nearly 3-year-old law pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown that keeps lower-level felons in county jails while reserving scarce state prison cells for serious, violent and sexual offenders.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)Rich Pedroncelli / AP, file

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More than three quarters of prisoners released from state prisons were arrested for a new crime or parole violation within five years of their release, according to a new report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The study released Tuesday called "Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010" tracked a random sampling of 69,279 released prisoners for five years and found a majority of state prisoners were arrested by the end of their first year of freedom.

Male inmates were arrested at higher rates that female inmates following release, according to the study. Black inmates had the highest recidivism rate, followed by Hispanic former-prisoners and then white inmates, according to the study.

With an increase in age, recidivism decreased, the study also found. About 84 percent of inmates who were age 24 or younger when they left prison were arrested, compared with about 69 percent who were 40 or older.

Arrest causes were split into four categories — violent offenses, drug offenses, property offenses and public order offenses — and the study found that those who originally committed a property offense were most likely to be arrested and those who committed a violent offense were least likely to be arrested again.

Additionally, most repeat-offenders were arrested for the same type of crime within the four categories that they were imprisoned for originally.

The study points out that arrests are not the only indication of recidivism. The study found that, "the percentage of inmates classified as recidivists declined as the recidivism measurement progressed from arrest to adjudication to conviction to incarceration to imprisonment."

"Returning to prison is probably the most common measure used in the field when studying the recidivism of released inmates," the study said, and more than 28 percent of freed prisoners were imprisoned again within five years.

— Elisha Fieldstadt

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