Published on: Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The United States Sentencing Commission published a new report today titled Recidivism and Federal Bureau of Prisons Programs Vocational Program Participants Released In 2010 (June 14, 2022).  The full 80-page report is available here.  The report at a glance is available here.

This report is the sixth in a series continuing the Commission’s study of the recidivism of federal offenders released in 2010. In this report, the Commission provides an analysis of data on the recidivism of federal offenders who participated in Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) vocational programs while incarcerated. The study examines whether completion of  vocational programs offered by the BOP impacted recidivism among a cohort of federal offenders who were released from prison in calendar year 2010. The report combines data regularly collected by the Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history records, and data on program completion and participation provided by the BOP.

Two key takeaway findings, according to the report:

  • This study observed a significant reduction in the likelihood of recidivism among offenders who completed the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program or the Non-Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program compared to eligible offenders who did not complete or participate in the programs
  • This study observed no statistically significant difference in the likelihood of recidivism among offenders who participated in Occupational Education Programs or Federal Prison Industries compared to offenders who did not participate in the programs.

Note, this study focuses solely on recidivism reduction and is not meant to analyze whether other program goals—such as a reduction in violations during incarceration and increased post-release employment—were achieved.