Are felons in Texas less likely to commit new crimes upon release than offenders in the rest of the nation? It looks that way from official statistics, but I wonder if they're accurate?
According to this January 2005 report on recidivism (pdf) and a recent TDCJ self-analysis, Texas' three-year reincarceration rate - that is, the percentage of released prisoners who wind up back in Texas prisons within three years - is a lot lower than other states and the national average. Texas' 3-year recidivism rate, say both reports, is less than half that of California's: 28.3 percent compared with more than 60 percent in the Golden State.
Here are comparisons from page 6 of the 2005 LBB report (statistics are older because three years must lapse to calculate recidivism):
|State||3-Year Reincarceration Rate|
What's going on here? Are Texas' stats underreported, or are we really TWICE as good at California at preventing ex-felons from re-offending? I really don't know - that statistic is a head scratcher to me. I don't understand why it would be true, but there it is.
If you have any knowledge - or even a good guess - as to why these numbers are so disparate, please let me know in the comments.