More than Half of All Federal Offenders Re-Offend After Release, Report Finds


When defendants end up in federal prison it’s a hard sentence. There’s very little evidence that being locked up helps them either. A recent study found nearly half of all federal inmates re-offend within eight years of their release.

Recidivism rates were studied by the United States Sentencing Commission. The researchers looked at offenders who were released after a term in a federal prison or placed on a term of probation in 2005.

person that is holding handcuffs

The study looked at what happened to 25,431 offenders in the federal system. They re-entered the community after leaving the federal system in 2005.

Nearly half (49.3 percent) of the offenders were rearrested within eight years of their release. They were charged with either a new crime or violation of their release or probation conditions.

Although the figure seems high, the recidivism for state inmates is even higher, according to statistics

Released State Inmates Re-offend More than Federal Ones

The Bureau of Justice Statistics studied more than 404,000 released prisoners in 30 states from 2005 to 2010.

It found approximate two-thirds (67.8 percent) of prisoners who had been released were arrested for a different crime within three years, and three-quarters (76.6 percent) were arrested within five years of their release.

Typically younger inmates are more likely to reoffend. Within five years of their initial release, 84.1 percent of prisoners who aged 24 or under at the time of their release were arrested, compared to 78.6 percent of those aged 25 to 39

The figures show incarceration is a very ineffective method to prevent re-offending and reform inmates. Many prisons have reputations as ‘universities of crime’ where offenders pick up new offending tricks.

Often a sentence like probation or community service can be more worthwhile for certain categories of offenders. There is an educational aspect and an incentive not to re-offend.

Texas has pioneered some re-educational programs in recent years in a bid to reduce its prison population. If you are seeking jail release in Texas our experienced criminal defense lawyers can help you. We know how important it is to get out of jail as soon as possible.

For help and advice contact our experienced Austin jail release attorneys here.

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