Surprisingly, Sex Offenders have Lower Recidivism Rates

Research has shown that sex offenders are more likely to recidivate with a nonsexual offense than a sexual offense. In a study of 15 states’ inmates, of 9,691 sex offenders released from prison in 1994, 3.5 percent were reconvicted for a sex crime and about one-quarter (24 percent) were reconvicted for an offense of any kind during the followup period. However, researchers agree that these statistics may underestimate the actual recidivism rates due to the difficulty of convicting defendants in sex offense cases.

https://www.smart.gov/SOMAPI/sec1/ch5_recidivism.html

Ex-prisoners with mental health problems ‘more likely to reoffend’

Ex-prisoners with common mental health problems, such as bipolar disorder, and who misuse drugs and alcohol are more likely to commit violent offences after their release than other former prisoners, according to research. The study, published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal, suggests that diagnosed psychiatric disorders are responsible for 20% of violent offences committed by male ex-prisoners and 40% of those committed by female former inmates.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/03/ex-prisoners-mental-health-problems-more-likely-reoffend-study

Comparison of Criminal Recidivism Rates Worldwide

June 18, 2015: A review of data collected over the web, regarding recidivism rates by country. The authors come to the conclusion that an overabundance of variables makes it difficult to compare apples-to-apples rates between countries. Such variables include the different categorization of crimes (is shoplifting a misdemeanor or felony?) and sentencing guidelines saturating or thinning the sample population with recidivists.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0130390

California’s Prop 47 Funds Anti-Recidivism Program

June 6, 2017: Prop 47 gave $100 million to cities and counties to treat, house and retrain Californians whose addictions or illnesses make them high risks to commit crimes and to wind up in jail or prison. The money, now finally being distributed, comes from the savings reaped from a declining state prison population, when Proposition 47 reduced simple drug possession and some property crimes like shoplifting from felonies to misdemeanors.
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-prop-47-funding-20170606-story.html

Recidivism Hard To Shake For Ex-Offenders Returning Home To Dim Prospects

June 10, 2012: Mostly biographical story about an ex-offender re-entering his old neighborhood in East Harlem, New York. The focus of the story, Rudy Holder, does find steady work at the same non-profit that helped him avoid going back to prison, but the article makes clear the many ways that released offenders can return to old habits.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/09/recidivism-harlem-convicts_n_1578935.html

Why Do So Many Ex-Cons End Up Back in Prison?

Oct. 29, 2015 — Provocative study challenging the notion that a high percentage of released inmates re-offend. Posits that recidivism rates are actually very low and that most studies on recidivism take a biased population of offenders exiting prison, over-represented with repeat offenders, similar to the sample bias in trying to find what percentage of popcorn doesn’t pop in a hopper if you take a sample after several hours of operation instead of after the first batch.
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2015/10/why_do_so_many_prisoners_end_up_back_in_prison_a_new_study_says_maybe_they.html