According to the Florida Department of Corrections, 87 percent of inmates currently incarcerated in state prisons will be released back into local communities at some point. Some of these offenders will reoffend. When an offender commits additional crimes, this is referred to as recidivism.

Recidivism is a relapse into criminal behavior, usually after receiving a conviction and/or penalty for a past crime. Recidivism rates are measured based on how many individuals who were previously involved with the criminal justice system are re-arrested, re-convicted, or returned to prison within three years of their prior involvement with the criminal justice system. An example of recidivism could involve an assault arrest and conviction by someone who had been convicted of and given probation for robbery one year prior to the assault.

The Florida Department of Corrections provides data on recidivism rates. In 2008, 27.6 percent of inmates released from prison in Florida were returned to prison within three years. In 2009, 26.3 percent of inmates were returned to prison within three years. In 2010, 25.7 percent of inmates were returned to prison within three years. The recidivism rates for 2008, 2009, and 2010, were 27.6; 26.3; and 25.7 respectively.

Factors that influence recidivism include whether a released defendant is subject to supervision, and the number of prior terms of imprisonment. Both post-release supervision and a higher number of past incarcerations increase the likelihood of recidivism, as does being younger when released from incarceration or having a higher number of disciplinary reports while imprisoned.  On the other hand, a higher level of education and a higher number of visits while incarcerated are both linked to lower recidivism rates.