In the state of California, recidivism refers to a person’s return to criminal behavior after they have received sanctions or interventions for a crime they previously committed. In other words, recidivism refers to rearrest or a return to prison during the three years that follows a person’s release from prison.
According to statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the United States has one of the highest recidivism rates of any country. A study found that:
While there are several programs in place to help ex-offenders transition to civilian life, studies have shown that it is the offender who ultimately must decide to make life changes. Programs and services only serve to assist in the transformation of offenders. Persons who have been in and released from prison must have a desire to turn their lives around and lead a crime-free existence.
It is unfair to say that every person released from prison will relapse within five years, but studies have shown that recidivism is a common phenomena among ex-convicts. The reason for this is not entirely clear.