Jan 30, 2012

Recent Study Produces Local-Level Recidivism Statistics for Parolees in New York City

Written by Bryn Herrschaft, Senior Research Associate, Center for Court Innovation

In 2009, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that 1.4 million adults had spent at least some time on parole supervision nationally and of those exiting supervision during that same year, 34% were re-incarcerated and 11% had another unsuccessful outcome, including revocation without incarceration or absconding (Glaze and Bonzcar, 2010). There is not much information, however, on parolees in local jurisdictions that are often home to a large number of formerly incarcerated persons. For example, New York City accounts for the majority of parolees supervised in New York State (56%). An understanding of the outcomes of New York City parolees can help community corrections officials focus their efforts on a local level to improve outcomes for individuals and the overall system.

In 2008, the Center for Court Innovation obtained a parole recidivism dataset from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) as part of its work with the Upper Manhattan Reentry Task Force. Parolees in the dataset were released between June 1, 2001 and February 1, 2008 and incurred an initial arrest in one of the 5 boroughs of NYC. The report seeks to provide a portrait of offenders returning to New York City on parole supervision and compare those findings to the 2010 DCJS report of outcomes for the entire State of New York.

Parolees returning to New York City are predominantly male (91%), nonwhite (57% black, 35% Hispanic), and multiple-time offenders (10.6 prior arrests and 7.3 prior convictions on average). Slightly less than half were imprisoned drug charges (47%) and almost one-fourth (23%) had a previous parole episode on the same case that ended in re-incarceration.

Over a three-year tracking period, parolees in New York City had:
·         A re-arrest rate of 53%
·         A reconviction rate of 42%
·         A revocation (return to prison) rate of 29%

Almost one-fourth (23%) were returned to prison on a technical violation which occurs when parolees violate the conditions of their supervised release (can include an arrest for a new crime or conviction for a misdemeanor offense). Only 6% of parolees were returned to prison as a result of a new felony conviction. The rate of return to prison for New York City (29%) is lower than the national average of34% reported in the Bureau of Justice Statistics 2009 Report.

A promising result of this study was that the revocation rates have declined over time since the early 2000s (from 32% of individuals released in 2002 to 26% of individuals released in 2006).Possible explanations for this finding as well as additional results are discussed further in the report.

To read more, check out the Center for Court Innovation’s publication by clicking here