Criminal Justice Legal Foundation

December 8, 2016

New data released yesterday by the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) indicates that property offenders released from prison are rearrested for committing violent crimes nearly at the same rate as violent criminals.

Supplemental BJS data on recidivism for inmates released from prison in 2005 shows that 28.5% of property offenders, such as burglars and car thieves, were rearrested for a violent crime within five years. This figure is only slightly lower than the 33.1% of violent offenders released the same year who were rearrested for violent crimes within five years.

“Nobody should be surprised by this,” said Michael Rushford, President of the Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation. “The notion that property and drug offenders are not dangerous has been disproven time after time.”

In addition to property offenders, the Foundation points to the breakdown of violent recidivism rates among other offenders whom alternative sentencing advocates consider non-violent, such as those convicted of drug and public order crimes. According to the BJS data, over the same five-year period 24.8% of drug offenders and 29.2% of public order offenders were rearrested for a violent crime.

“California’s Governor and supporters of the reduced sentences under his Realignment law, this year’s Proposition 57 and the 2014 ballot measure Proposition 47, have been telling us that locking up habitual thieves and drug dealers is unnecessary because they are not dangerous and can be rehabilitated in our communities. This is an entirely false narrative. The law-abiding public faces more than a one-in-four chance that the car thief getting an early release from prison today will be tomorrow’s violent criminal. Those are unacceptable odds,” said Rushford.

Foundation President Michael Rushford can be reached for comment at (916) 446-0345

Bureau of Justice Statistics data referred to is available at: