Recidivism and Reincarceration

Recidivism and Reincarceration

Reducing recidivism and reincarceration 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 and reincarceration 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 defined as committing a new offense within a specified follow-up period that results in a new sentence to either prison or probation (following a release from prison).

WI DOC reincarceration is defined as an admission to prison within a specified follow-up period for either a revocation, a revocation with a new sentence, or a new sentence (following a release from prison).

Key Differences Between Recidivism and Reincarceration: 

  1. Recidivism must involve an offense for which the offender receives a new sentence, reincarceration may not.
  2. Reincarceration involves a return to prison, whereas, recidivism may involve either a new prison sentence OR a new probation sentence.
  3. The date an offender is labeled a recidivist is the date the offense occurs, whereas the date an offender is labeled reincarcerated is the date he/she physically re-enters prison.

For more information regarding WI DOC recidivism and reincarceration rates, please contact the WI DOC Research and Policy Unit.
  
Click on the dropdown menus below to access the reports.

Recidivism after Release from Prison

General Recidivism

WI DOC release from prison recidivism is defined as committing a new offense within a specified follow-up period that results in a new sentence to either prison or probation (following a release from prison). The date of the the offense is the day the offender becomes a recidivist.

The recidivism report below provides overall recidivism rate trends and recidivism rates by gender, race, age at release, length of prison stay, risk level, and original offense type. For those offenders who are recidivists, the report also includes data on the length of time between release and the recidivism event, and data on those offenders who were reconvicted for the same offense type that they were originally incarcerated for.

Recidivism after Release from Prison Report (August 2016)

Recidivism after Release from Prison Interactive Dashboards

Sex Offender Recidivism

Sexual recidivism is defined as a sex offense that results in a new conviction and sentence to WI DOC custody or supervision (following a release from prison). A sex offense is defined by WI criminal code (WI Stat. 301.45) and generally includes offenses that require registration as a sex offender.

The 2015 Sex Offender Recidivism after Release from Prison report highlights sex offender recidivism rates at three-, five-, ten-, and fifteen year follow-up periods, presenting both general and sexual recidivism patterns.

The report presents overall recidivism rate trends, and recidivism rates by gender, age, race, release type, and original offense type. For those offenders who are not recidivists, the report also includes data on the length of time between release and the recidivism event.

Sex Offender Recidivism after Release from Prison Report (September 2015)

Reincarceration

Reincarceration

WI DOC reincarceration is defined as an admission to prison within a specified follow-up period for either a revocation, a revocation with a new sentence, or a new sentence (following a release from prison). The date the offender physically re-enters prison is the date he/she becomes reincarcerated.

Reincarceration rates are calculated as the number of offenders admitted to prison (following a release from prison) divided by the total number of offenders released from prison in a given year. Admissions for temporary holds and alternatives to revocation are not included in reincarceration rate calculations.

WI DOC Reincarceration Rates (June 2015)