Michigan recidivism rate falls to its lowest level at 28.1 percent

The number of Michigan offenders who return to prison has reached its lowest level since the state began recording three-year re-incarceration rates.

Michigan’s recidivism rate, which measures the percentage of offenders who return to prison within three years of release, has dropped to 28.1 percent, placing Michigan among the top 10 states in the nation with the lowest recidivism rates.

Offenders can be returned to prison for committing new crimes, or for violating the conditions of their parole. The current figures represent individuals who were released from prison in 2014.

“Ninety-five percent of people in prison will be paroled and 100 percent of them need a job,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “Finding employment is the best deterrent in keeping former offenders from returning to prison. The Department of Corrections should be proud of the work it’s doing to help our returning residents — to give them the chance that best helps them find a successful path in life.”

Last year, the department announced recidivism rates had dropped to 29.8 percent — which was the second lowest level since the state began recording the three-year rates. The state’s lowest recidivism rate previously came in 2014 when 29 percent of offenders were returned to prison following their release in 2010.

Recidivism in Michigan has hovered around 30 percent in recent years and it reflects a sharp drop from 1998 when the rate was 45.7 percent.

“Our communities are safer when we give offenders the tools they need to become successful and productive members of society,” said Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington. “The department has made it a priority to provide high-quality education, training and support to offenders returning to our neighborhoods, and Michigan’s declining recidivism rates show these efforts are working.”

The department’s “Offender Success” model aims to provide prisoners with education, skills and job training in high-demand fields that can lead to stable careers and lower the risk of re-offense.

Training programs include the Vocational Village, which operates at Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia and Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson. The program provides training in automotive technology, welding, CNC machining, robotics, commercial truck driving, forklift operation, carpentry, plumbing, electrical trades and concrete and masonry work.