The rate measures the percentage of offenders who return to prison within three years of release. They can be returned to prison for committing new crimes or for violating the conditions of their parole. The rate does not count those who may land in county jails.
Michigan's most recent recidivism rate is just under 27%. It was about 40% a decade ago.
"When we drive down this rate, it means that we have fewer people in prison," said Chris Gautz, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections. "It means we have safer communities because it means that those who we have released from prison are no longer committing crimes."
Gautz says the rate has fallen with the help of programs that provide prisoners with education and skills training and connect them with housing, jobs, and support services upon release.
"Our goal is if you're going to come to prison, this be your one and only stint in prison, "said Gautz. "We work with you inside a prison, and we help you on the outside so you don't come back."
Gautz says Michigan's most recent recidivism rate puts the state among the ten lowest rates in the United States.
We are committed to making our communities safer places to live by providing returning citizens with the education and skills they need to be successful," said Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington in a written statement. "We're pround of our hard work and efforts that have driven down recidivism rates to an historic, all-time low."