Iowa Prison Recidivism

What is Recidivism?

The act of an individual leaving prison (parole/special sentence, work release, or discharge) who is then reincarcerated within three years for any reason.  The report fiscal year includes those individuals whose three year period ended within the fiscal year identified (July 1 - June 30, labeled after the calendar year in which it ends).
There are a number of potential explanations for the variance in recidivism percentages. Many are policy decisions, such as types of individuals sentenced to prison, how offenders are selected for release, the length of stay under supervision, and decisions about how to respond to violations of supervision.

Survival Time

Survival time is the amount of time that has passed from when an individual is released into the community to when they return to prison.  According to research, most individuals are at highest risk the first year following release.  After three years, the risk of reincarceration becomes much lower.

Breaking Down the Numbers

The data powering this report is updated annually.

DOC Activities to Reduce Recidivism

Align Our Resources

  • Prioritize institutional and community-based treatment for high risk clients
  • Continue utilization of program inventories to ensure provided programs are evidence-based
  • Improve and align reentry practices

Utilize Our Tools

  • Utilize competency matrix to build staff knowledge and skills
  • Utilize a response matrix to implore objective supervision strategies when clients violate
  • Improve fidelity with risk assessment instruments by deploying staff trained in Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)

Expand Our Skills

  • Increase access to education (both high school and post-secondary)
  • Build capacity within apprenticeship programs
  • Train all staff in core correctional practices (CCP)
  • Enhance case management training