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I'm having difficulty finding statistics comparing the recidivism rates of regular prisoners and the ones that worked while serving the sentence. I can't remember where but I've read that "specialists believe working in prisons can reduce recidivism from 70% to 20%" in several different publications and I never really questioned how they got the number.

Claims:

The following graph was made by CALPIA itself and evalutes the recidivism rate of a very limited sample space. http://www.calpia.ca.gov/pdf/Public_Affairs/PIB_CTEducation_Assessment_Report_Nov12.pdf

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Detailed table about CTE: enter image description here

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    Has anyone heard similar claims? Let's get a notable claim here so we aren't tilting at windmills. – Oddthinking May 1 '13 at 1:50
  • @Oddthinking I've updated the answer with an apparently biased result. Is this enough? – Renan May 1 '13 at 3:10
  • That certainly shows notability!... but it also answers your claim. You ask where the claimants get the numbers, and then provide an example. (I understand the sample isn't huge.) The post may need some tweaking to make your real question clearer. – Oddthinking May 1 '13 at 3:46
  • it would I guess depend heavily on the background of the inmate, what crime he's serving time for, the reasons he committed it, what environment he will return to. Someone convicted of a crime of passion who can return to a stable environment and a job will be far less likely to commit another crime than a hardened gangbanger with a history of drug abuse and related crimes. – jwenting May 1 '13 at 6:56
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    I don't see any reason to doubt the figures - it makes no sense for the report to lie about them. However there is an obvious caveat which means we can't reduce the recidivism rate by providing compulsory vocational training for all inmates. The CTE participation is voluntary, and so they are a self-selecting sample. It's likely that those who are motivated to get their lives on track are much more likely to enroll in the program, and are also much less likely to reoffend. – DJClayworth May 1 '13 at 16:02

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