Older federal offenders were substantially less likely than younger offenders to commit new offenses after their release from prison, says a new report from the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Over an eight-year follow-up period, 13.4 percent of offenders age 65 or older at the time of release were rearrested compared to 67.6 percent of offenders younger than age 21 at the time of release.
Education level influenced recidivism across almost all categories, the commission found. Among offenders under age 30 at the time of release, college graduates had a substantially lower rearrest rate (27 percent) than offenders who did not complete high school (74.4 percent). Age had a strong influence on recidivism across all sentence length categories. Older offenders were less likely to recidivate after release than younger offenders who had served similar sentences, regardless of the length of sentence imposed. For some major offense types, the type of crime offenders had committed had an effect on recidivism across age groups. For example, firearms offenders had a substantially higher rearrest rate across all age categories than did drug trafficking offenders, who in turn had a higher rearrest rate than fraud offenders.