Facts on Re-Entry, Employment and Recidivism
Key findings related to offender reentry, employment and recidivism include:
- Prisoners who participate in job training and educational programs are less likely to return to prison after release.
- Individuals with criminal records who participate in an employment program or substance abuse treatment are better able to avoid reincarceration the first year out.
- Many of those returning to their communities have significant educational and employment deficits (lack of a high school diploma or GED, previously fired from a job, dependability upon illegal income prior to incarceration, lack of job skills, etc.).
- After release, former prisoners have limited success in finding employment. Only about a half find work the first year out.
- Most former prisoners owe debt at release such as debts acquired prior to incarceration and those due to incarceration (fees, fines and
restitution). Few manage to pay any of these debts during the year
following their release.
- Nearly a quarter of those released from prison, commit
new crimes and are re-arrested within their first year of release.
- Among those who return, almost three-quarters
return due to a supervision violation (such as failure to pay fines, fees and restitutions, failure to report and/or re-arrest).
- Former prisoners who find employment soon after
release are less likely to be reincarcerated within their first year out.
References: Hughes, T. and Wilson, D. (2002). Reentry trends in the United States. Department of Justice.
Bureau of Justice Statistics. Washington, DC: US.
The Lionheart Foundation. (2013). Corrections in the US: The picture today. Retrieved online from
The Urban Institute. (2013). Returning home: Understanding the challenges of reentry. Retrieved