Over half of females serving time for a violent offense were arrested within 5 years of release from prison

WASHINGTON –The Bureau of Justice Statistics is announcing the release of Recidivism of Females Released from State Prison, 2012–2017. During the 5 years after their release in 2012, more than half of females (55%, compared to 66% of males) who were serving time for a violent offense were arrested for another offense, while more than a third (38%, compared to 49% of males) had a new conviction for any offense, and about a fourth (27%, compared to 43% of males) were returned to prison.

“These findings illustrate the differences in the types of offenses that males and females were arrested for after leaving prison,” said Dr. Alexis Piquero, Director of BJS.

About 7 in 10 (69%) females released in 2012 were serving time for a property or drug offense, compared to about 5 in 10 (52%) males. The percentage of females who returned to prison within 5 years was higher among those serving time for a property offense (38%) than a violent offense (27%).

Overall, females (16%) were less likely than males (30%) to be arrested for a violent offense within 5 years of their 2012 release. Additionally, females (12%) were less likely than males (23%) to be arrested for assault. However, females were more likely than males to be arrested for larceny (26% of females and 21% of males) and fraud or forgery (12% of females and 9% of males).

“While the study found several differences in recidivism patterns by crime type, both males and females had a median of four prior convictions in their criminal history,” noted Director Piquero.

These findings are based on BJS’s recidivism study on persons released from state prison across 34 states in 2012. It compares females and males by their commitment offenses and recidivism patterns during the 5 years following release. For more findings from the study, see BJS’s previous report, Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 34 States in 2012: A 5-Year Follow-Up Period (2012–2017) (NCJ 255947, BJS, July 2021).

The BJS report Recidivism of Females Released from State Prison, 2012–2017, written by BJS Statistician Matthew R. Durose and former BJS Statistician Leonardo Antenangeli, PhD; related documents; and additional information about BJS’s statistical publications and programs are available on the BJS website at bjs.ojp.gov.

About the Bureau of Justice Statistics

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, is the principal federal agency responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating reliable statistics on crime and criminal justice in the United States. Alexis R. Piquero, PhD, is the director. More information about BJS and criminal justice statistics can be found at bjs.ojp.gov.

About the Office of Justice Programs

The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.