||Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1994, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Justice
Statistics, is the most thorough and extensive compilation of official data on recidivism
in the United States. It contains criminal history and demographic information on
38,624 prisoners released in 1994 from prisons in 15 states (Arizona, California,
Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York,
North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia) and followed for three years thereafter.
Using these data, I found a significant effect of race on recidivism, such that black
males are significantly more likely to recidivate than white males, after controlling
for individual-level variables, including age and criminal history, and for structural-level
variables, including state of release. I also found a significant effect of state
of release on recidivism, which is partially accounted for by the state unemployment
rate and the percentage of minority individuals in the state population. The implications
of these findings with regard to larger issues of social and economic stratification
as well as to policy efforts are discussed.