Facts on Re-Entry, Employment and Recidivism

Key findings related to offender reentry, employment, and recidivism include:

  • Individuals in prison 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, individuals have limited success in finding employment. Only about a half find work the first year out.


  • Upon their release from prison, most people owe debts 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 restitution, failure to report and/or re-arrest).

  • Individuals 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

                              online from http://www.urban.org/center/jpc/returning-home/index.cfm