5-year follow-up study on first-time Michigan parolees released in 1986
1,973 parole discharges (55.2%)
1,601 parole violators (44.8%)
Source: The MCF Factor (Michigan)
These two studies debunk the popular myth that 70-80% of ex-cons return to prison. They are the latest to examine how people fare who were actually released from prison, providing sound data as to how many and which ex-cons pose a significant threat to the public.
Earlier studies by the U. S. Justice Department -- "Prevalence of Imprisonment" (1985) and "Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1983" (1989) -- reached the same conclusions: Most ex-cons do not return to prison and the best risks are those who served time for violent crimes, especially murder. Apparently, the public perception "once violent, always violent, lock 'em up forever" is baseless. But, as a result, thieves and drug offenders shoot through the system too fast for it to have any effect, while many once-violent criminals are held past the point when they could safely be released. A poor ordering of priorities.
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