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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Policy Review of Reincarceration in Florida's Prisons Administered by the Department of Corrections , Report No. 95-06, September 1995
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  • Of the 183,692 offenders released from Florida's prisons for the period of July 1, 1986, through February 28, 1992, 41% returned to prison within three years of their prison release dates. We also found that: Florida's reincarceration rate peaked at 44% for offenders released from prison during the 1988-89 fiscal year and has since declined to 38% for the 1990-91 and 1991-92 fiscal years;
  • While the portion of offenders returning to prison for committing new crimes has decreased substantially, the portion of offenders returning to prison for violating the terms of post-release supervision has increased. The portion of offenders returning to prison for technical violations increased from a low of 5% for 1987-88 releasees to a high of 42% for 1991-92 releasees;
  • Most of the growth in the state prison population since 1985 is due to reincarceration, rather than offenders entering prison for the first time. During the ten-year period from June 30, 1985, to June 30, 1995, the state's prison population more than doubled from 28,310 to 61,992. Approximately 78% of this growth in the prison population is attributed to offenders returning to prison.
  • Determining the precise causes of decreases in reincarceration rates is complicated by many factors that can influence offender behavior and the sanctions that offenders receive. However, we identified three primary factors that may have contributed to the decline in reincarceration rates over the three most recent years we reviewed. First, Florida crime statistics indicate that crime has declined since the late 1980's. Second, the rate at which convicted felons were sent to prison has declined from 31% in fiscal year 1989-90 to 21% in fiscal year 1993-94. Third, as of June 30, 1994, approximately 13% of the prison population were serving longer prison terms as habitual offenders, thus eliminating the opportunity to recidivate.

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 97-13 Follow-up Report on Reincarceration in Florida's Prisons Administered by the Department of Corrections, published in October 1997

Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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