Report shows fewer inmates returning to prison after release

Parole violations are the primary reason that released felons are returned to prison.

LOS ANGELES – Fewer inmates in California are returning to prison after they have been released, said state officials Tuesday.

California’s recidivism rate fell to 65 percent this year, according to the 2011 Adult Institutions Outcome Evaluation Report from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

The 2.4 percent reduction from 2010, equates to 2,766 fewer inmates returning to prison and an approximate saving to California taxpayers of $30 million, according to CDCR.

“A major goal for CDCR and for other public safety officials is to prevent offenders from victimizing again after their release from incarceration,” said Secretary Matthew Cate in a statement Tuesday. “Even a slight drop in the overall percentage can equate to thousands of inmates who have not returned to prison and likely prevented the victimization of countless citizens. Reducing recidivism has been a primary goal for our agency, and this report shows that progress is being made.”

The report shows the majority of inmates (slightly more than a quarter) are paroled to Los Angeles County after release.

Despite the fact that over a quarter of all inmates who were paroled in FY 2006-07 were released into Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles County recidivism rate (57%) is the lowest of the 12 largest counties, and is lower than the statewide average.

Stanislaus, Fresno, and San Joaquin counties have the highest overall three-year recidivism rates, ranging from 74.2 percent to 77.6 percent, respectively.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • 45 percent of the released felons returned to prison for parole violations;
  • Female offenders recidivate at a lower rate than males – 11.2 percentage points lower, after three years;
  • Recidivating sex registrants are most often returned to prison for a new non-sex crime than for a new sex crime. Of the sex offenders who recidivate, 84.4 percent return to prison for a parole violation;
  • Overall, inmates with a developmental disability recidivated at a higher rate than those without a developmental disability designation – nearly 13 percentage points higher than inmates without developmental disabilities;
  • 99 percent of convicted murderers who paroled since 1995 did not return to prison; and
  • Inmates who were assigned to a Security Housing Unit recidivate at a higher rate than those who were not.

The 2011 report focuses on offenders who were released in fiscal year 2006-07. All offenders were tracked for a full three-year follow-up period, even if they were discharged from parole, to determine if they recidivated.

The in-depth report also includes analyses of demographics, including gender, age, offense, length of stay, risk category, mental health status and behavior while under CDCR custody and supervision. The report includes an extended analysis of sex offenders, as well as the types of offenses committed by parole violators that resulted in their return to prison.

View the full 2011 Adult Institutions Outcome Evaluation Report here (pdf).

(Information via press release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.)