DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC) last week announced a reduction in the recidivism rate for FY2021. The three-year recidivism rate for FY2021 is 38.7 percent — 0.9 percent lower than the recidivism rate observed in FY2020.
The recidivism rate has increased every fiscal year since but had been on the rise since FY 2014 after seeing a decrease in three consecutive fiscal years starting in FY 2012.
- 2021: 38.7 percent
- 2020: 39.6 percent
- 2019: 38.8 percent
- 2018: 37.8 percent
- 2017: 35.4 percent
- 2016: 34.2 percent
- 2015: 31.9 percent
- 2014: 29.8 percent
- 2013: 30.3 percent
- 2012: 30.8 percent
- 2011: 31.4 percent
The National Institute of Justice defines recidivism is defined as the likelihood that an individual “relapse[s] into criminal behavior, often after the person receives sanctions or undergoes intervention from a previous crime.”
However, recidivism can be defined in a multitude of ways, and there is no primary standard for national or state-level reporting. The IDOC defines recidivism as an individual’s return to prison within three years following a previous term of incarceration.
IDOC has prioritized recidivism working on innovations that will improve public safety, individual reentry, and community support services partnering with federal, state, and local agencies.
“I’m proud of the hard work that the Department of Corrections and their partners have done to continually reduce the recidivism rate in our state,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a released statement. “It is critical that we continue these programs and partnerships and help these individuals begin a new path as an active, productive and valued member of our society.”
The IDOC has undertaken a series of efforts to continue to reduce recidivism and improve public safety within the department. For instance, IDOC launched the Iowa Statewide Recividism Reducation Strategy funded through a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice under the Second Chance Act. The FY2021 figures, Dr. Beth Skinner, the director of the Iowa Department of Corrections, says speaks to IDOC’s efforts toward promoting a safer Iowa and achieving their vision of an Iowa with no more victims.
“The Iowa DOC has undertaken multiple efforts over the course of several years to reduce recidivism rates. In recent years, while we have observed increases in recidivism, that rate of increase appeared to slow as Department-wide efforts were implemented, practiced, and sustained. The recidivism reduction observed during FY21 are indications these efforts are working to achieve our Department’s unified goals to improve reentry and community safety,” she said in a released statement.
IDOC reported several implementation efforts, which including prioritizing institutional and community-based treatment for high-risk individuals, utilizing evidence-bsaed programs, improved re-entry practices, increased access to educational opportunities, apprenticeship programs, and training staff in core correctional practices and enhanced case management.