04/13/2011 - Sixteen years after banning parole, Virginia has defied the nation’s unshakably high recidivism level, returning a lower rate of prisoners to incarceration than many other states, according to the first state-by-state comparison of recidivism.
Although the state’s recidivism levels have edged up slightly since 2000, Virginia’s 28.3 percent recidivism rate for prisoners in the three years after their release in 2004 is well below the nation’s 43.3 percent rate during the same period, according to the Pew Center on the States study.
Maryland, whose recidivism record-keeping has come under scrutiny by state budget analysts, was unable to provide statistics in the form researchers requested and is one of several states not included in the study. However, Maryland officials said the 2004 recidivism rate was 48.5, slightly higher than the national rate.
The Pew study comes as states battle skyrocketing prison costs amid steep budget shortfalls. Corrections spending by states tops $50 billion a year and is the second-fastest-growing budget expense, behind Medicaid, according to Pew.
Read the full article, Va. Returning Prisoners to Jail at Lower-than-Average Rate, Study Shows on the Washington Post's Web site.