Reducing recidivism is a vital part of the mission of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WI DOC). Offenders may participate in treatment and programming under WI DOC custody, but it is in the community where they put into practice what they have learned. Fewer crimes means fewer victims and safer neighborhoods. An accurate understanding of recidivism allows WI DOC to begin to examine who is at a greater risk for re-offending, and ultimately to shift resources to focus on those offenders.​

WI DOC release from prison recidivism is measured in three ways:

  1. Rearrest: following an episode of incarceration with the WI DOC, to be arrested in Wisconsin for a new criminal offense.​
  2. ​​ ​​Reconvic​tion: following an episode of incarceration with the WI DOC, to commit a criminal offense that results in a new sentence to either pris​on or probation. Recidivism reports prior to 2021 used this reconviction measure as the only measure of recidivism.​​​
  3. Reincarceration: ​following an episode of incarceration with the WI DOC, to be admitted to a Wisconsin prison for either a revocation, a revocation with a new sentence, or a new sentence.

The date an individual becomes a recidivist varies between the three measures; rearrest​ and reconviction use the date the offense occured as the date of the recidivism event, while reincarceration uses the prison admission date.

Recidivism Report

The recidivism report below provides recidivism rate trends and recidivism rates by gender, age at release, race, length of prison stay, and original offense type for all three measures of recidivism. For those offenders who are recidivists, the report also includes data on the length of time between release and the recidivism event (as defined by each respective measure of recidivism), as well as data on those offenders who were rearrested or reconvicte​d for the same offense type for which they were originally incarcerated.

Recidivism after Release from Prison Report (August 2021)

Recidivism Trends Graph  

Recidivism Rates Table

For more information regarding WI DOC recidivism and reincarceration rates, please contact the WI DOC Research and Policy Unit.