Fraudsters Return To Prison At Surprising Rate

Here’s a bit of a surprise: A study of repeat offenders (.pdf) in federal prison between 1986-1997 suggests that those convicted of fraud have a rate of recidivism comparable to other criminals. For all of the 215,000 ex-prisoners in the study, the rate of return within three years was about 16% — for the 23,970 prisoners convicted of “fraud”, that number is 13.2%.

Of course, “fraud” is a broad category, and we don’t know what percentage of those fraudsters are what we’d define as white-collar criminals. Nonetheless, it add some weight to the argument that non-violent, business criminals also deserve hefty sentences (see comments on yesterday’s post). They can strike again!

On the other hand, their rate of recidivism, though near the average for all criminals, doesn’t approach those convicted of violent crimes, who return to jail for a second stint at rates exceeding 30%.

(HT: Connie Loizos)

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