New Report Finds No Significant Difference in Recidivism Rates of Those Released Early and Those Who Served a Full Sentence
Date:  07-12-2020

A third of those who did recidivate were sent back to prison for a asupervision violation
From the United States Sentencing Commission:


  • There was no statistically significant difference in the recidivism rates of the Retroactivity Group (offenders who were released on average 37 months early through retroactive application of the Drugs Minus Two Amendment) and the Comparison Group (offenders who would have been eligible for retroactivity but had served their sentences before retroactivity took effect). Over a three-year period following their release from prison, the Retroactivity Group had a recidivism rate of 27.9 percent compared to 30.5 percent for the Comparison Group. This outcome may be attributed, at least in part, to the eligibility criteria required by the Commission, and the careful consideration of those criteria by judges – particularly public safety considerations – in exercising their discretion to grant or deny retroactivity motions.

  • The similarity in the recidivism rates of the Retroactivity Group and the Comparison Group held true across all drug types. Among offenders convicted of offenses with the same primary drug type—Powder Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, Heroin, Marijuana, Methamphetamine, and Other Drugs—offenders in the Retroactivity Group had similar recidivism rates to offenders in the Comparison Group, although the recidivism levels varied by drug type. The highest rates were observed among Crack Cocaine offenders (35.1% in the Retroactivity Group and 37.5% in the Comparison Group) and the lowest rates among Powder Cocaine offenders (19.5% in the Retroactivity Group and 22.3% in the Comparison Group).

  • For both the Retroactivity and Comparison Groups, approximately one-third of offenders who did recidivate (34.4% and 33.1%, respectively) had a court or supervision violation as their most serious recidivism event.

  • Among offenders who did recidivate, the median time to recidivism was approximately 15 months for both groups.

    Read the full report here.