It’s a word few people hear and fewer know the meaning of: recidivism. And it’s at a record low in Florida.
“Recidivism is the measurement of an inmate as they are released and how many of them actually are remanded back into the departments custody within a three year period,” said Tim Cannon, deputy secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections.
The inmate recidivism rate is calculated annually. Earlier this month, the Florida Department of Corrections announced that the rate has dropped 4 percent in the last three years.
“The end result of this reduction in recidivism is a reduced number of victims in the state of Florida,” Cannon said.
The decreasing rate will save taxpayers money. According to Cannon, it costs the city roughly $20,000 a year per inmate. The expenses cover housing, food and other charges that come into account during crime investigations.
Michael Crews, secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, said, “You have the financial aspect and the savings we see by not having them re-committed, but you also see less crime and less victims.”
Criminals are also beneficiaries. Ex-convicts are finding it easier to stay out of jail by finding jobs through the department and making a better living for themselves.
“I have no hard feelings against the system whatsoever,” said Eric Smallridge, an ex-convict in Leon County. “I made my bed. I had to lay in it. And now, with the programs they’re putting into place to help inmates try to have an opportunity to transition into society, I think it’s an awesome thing, and I’m 100 percent supportive of it.”
Smallridge was released early from his sentence in January and is currently at a local Goodwill.
For more information about the Florida Department of Corrections, visit www.dc.state.fl.us.