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Report provides insight into state's high recidivism rates

Individuals who are convicted of criminal charges in Massachusetts appear to be more likely to later be arrested and convicted of additional criminal charges. This fact is evident in a report that was recently released by the Council of State Governments which details the results of a study that examined several aspects of Massachusetts' criminal justice system.

According to the report, the state's "prison recidivism rates…are around 40 percent." This figure is troubling for many reasons and appears to indicate that, for a significant number of Massachusetts residents, one run-in with law enforcement officials can signal the start of a vicious cycle where they are more likely to be arrested and, due to their prior record, convicted of subsequent crimes.

In addition to examining recidivism rates within the state's criminal justice system, the report also looked at the offenses for which repeat offenders were most likely to be arrested and convicted. According to the report, motor vehicle offenses are the most common types of crimes for which an estimated 47 percent of individuals within the state served roughly a four-and-a-half month sentence.

Property crimes were the second most-common types of offenses for which residents were locked up and, during 2013 alone, roughly 1,200 people in the state were "sentenced to county jails for larceny, or theft." According to the report, the average jail sentence for a theft-related conviction was seven months.

As these figures prove, Massachusetts residents who are facing criminal charges related to a motor vehicle or property crime would be wise to take steps to fight these charges. These types of charges can stem from misunderstandings or a failure to pay child support and prior convictions are always taken into account by a sentencing judge.

Source: MassLive, "Criminals in Massachusetts keep reoffending, report finds," Shira Schoenberg, April 12, 2016

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