There is insufficient statistics about the rate of recidivism during COVID because the scenario, and subsequent response, are still in their infancy. However, early statistics show COVID-related recidivism rates are relatively low.

  • In New York, about 1,400 people have been released from jail due to COVID-19, and roughly 50 have been sent back to jail. This calculates to about a 4% recidivism rate. Between 2001 and 2008, the recidivism rate in New York was 53%.

  • Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain says, “The Kane County Jail experienced recidivism rates as high as 60% pre-COVID. Analyzing the jails intake and release reports from March 13 to June 23, only 28 of the 1,000 people processed during that period came back into jail custody after their deferred or early release. That is a recidivism rate of 2%.”

  • Special Master Daniel Foley of the Hawaii Supreme Court says, “only 50 of the 650 or so inmates released early were arrested again. That’s an 8% recidivism rate — well below the roughly 50% average rate for inmates released on probation prior to COVID-19.”

There are outliers, of course. For example, Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal attorney, was initially released from prison over concerns of COVID-19.  However, Cohen was taken back into federal custody on July 9th, 2020 after violating terms of his parole. 

Though the data is far from conclusive, the reported decreases in recidivism is worth noting as more states identify plans for inmate release. 

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