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Offenders Serving Over Five Years in Prison Less Likely To Recidivate

In a follow-up study on the relationship between length of incarceration and recidivism, the U.S. Sentencing Commission found results similar to an earlier study that examined offenders released in 2005. The commission found in a study released in 2020 that federal offenders with sentences of more than 60 months were less likely to recidivate compared to a similar group of offenders receiving shorter sentences.. The new study looked at federal offenders released in 2010.


In both studies, the odds of recidivism were lower for federal offenders sentenced to more than 60 months incarceration compared with a matched group of offenders receiving shorter sentences. Incarceration lengths of more than 120 months had a preventative effect. The odds of recidivism were approximately 29 percent lower for federal offenders sentenced to more than 120 months incarceration compared to a matched group of federal offenders receiving shorter sentences. The odds of recidivism were approximately 18 percent lower for offenders sentenced to more than 60 months and up to 120 months incarceration compared to a matched group of federal offenders receiving shorter sentences.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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