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Recidivism Among Female Prisoners: Secondary Analysis of the 1994 BJS Recidivism Data Set

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2006
74 pages
This study conducted a secondary analysis of data collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (Langan and Levin, 2002), in order to examine the recidivism (reoffending) of female inmates released from prisons in 15 States in 1994.
Over a period of 3 years after release, approximately 60 percent of the females in the total sample (included males released from prisons in the 15 States in 1994) were rearrested, compared with approximately 70 percent of the total sample; 40 percent of the females had a new conviction compared to 48 percent of the total sample. Approximately 30 percent of the females returned to prison (18 percent were the result of a new sentence), compared to 37 percent of the total sample (25 percent were the result of a new sentence). The majority of female offenders who had originally been imprisoned for violent offenses did not commit another violent offense within 3 years after their release in 1994. For both the total sample and the female subsample, those originally imprisoned for property or drug offenses were significantly more likely to have a new arrest than those originally imprisoned for other offense categories. Female offenders, similar to offenders in the total sample, were more likely to be rearrested for a property crime. Female offenders typically did not specialize in certain types of offenses over their criminal careers; however, there was some repeating of property, drug, and public-order offenses. The strongest and most consistent predictors of recidivism for female offenders were the number of prior arrests and being a younger age when released from prison. The majority of the women (63 percent) had no prior prison term and had served less time in prison than the total sample. The subsample of female inmates composed 8.7 percent (n=23,562) of the total sample of prisoners released in the 15 States in 1994 (272,111 male and female inmates). 22 tables and 50 references

Date Published: October 1, 2006