Thursday, January 07, 2010

Gitmo Recidivism? Compared to What?

A secret Pentagon study supposedly shows that 20 percent of the Gitmo detainees who have been repatriated have gone back to a life of terrorism -- or something. Actually it's not clear from the reports (see below) how many were terrorists to begin with. We know that some of the Guantanamo detainees were not. It's also not clear how many were radicalized by their incarceration (one would think all of them were), or whether the 20 percent in the Pentagon study have joined radical organizations that are carrying out violent acts.

But it is interesting to compare this Gitmo recidivism with such studies as we have of common criminals in the United States who have actually been convicted. This is from a 2002 post on the US Department of Justice Web site:

Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1994

Patrick A. Langan, Ph.D., David J. Levin, Ph.D.

June 2, 2002 NCJ 193427

Reports on the rearrest, reconviction, and reincarceration of former inmates who were tracked for 3 years after their release from prisons in 15 States in 1994. The former inmates represent two-thirds of all prisoners released in the United States that year. The report includes prisoner demographic characteristics (gender, race, Hispanic origin, and age), criminal record, types of offenses for which they were imprisoned, the effects of length of stay in prison on likelihood of rearrest, and comparisons with a study of prisoners released in 1983.

Highlights include the following:

  • Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were robbers (70.2%), burglars (74.0%), larcenists (74.6%), motor vehicle thieves (78.8%), those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%), and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%).
  • Within 3 years, 2.5% of released rapists were arrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for homicide.
  • The 272,111 offenders discharged in 1994 had accumulated 4.1 million arrest charges before their most recent imprisonment and another 744,000 charges within 3 years of release.

Part of the Recidivism of Prisoners Released Series

Earlier post:

U.S. believes 1 in 5 ex-detainees joining militants

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