Press Releases

TDOC Releases Repeat-Offender Study

State of Tennessee Press Release, June 15, 2010

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Correction has discovered some encouraging news in its latest study on recidivism. The just released report shows that felons released from TDOC prisons are now less likely to return to custody.

The return rate for ex-felons dropped 3% in the latest survey. For 2005, the recidivism rate stood at 38.8% for offenders who had been out of prison for three years. That’s compared to a 42% rate in 2001. While there is no recognized national average for recidivism, return rates range as high as 65% for individual states.

For Tennessee taxpayers, a 3% drop in return means an annual savings of $3,933,502.80 based on the $64.92 daily rate to house an inmate.

Even better news is that the TDOC is maintaining extremely low return rates for felons convicted of violent crimes such as murder, rape and assault. Three years after their release, these offenders were only 25% likely to return to prison compared to the nearly 44% return rate for those convicted of property offenses.

“While any return of such serious offenders is undesirable, the consistent ability of the TDOC to achieve these low return rates is noteworthy,” said Commissioner Gayle Ray. “The lower recidivism rates show that rehabilitation efforts which include evidence-based programming are working and must continue.”

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