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What is Recidivism?
Recidivism and the need for
effective transitional housing in Illinois

Recidivism simply put, is the repetitive criminal behavior of an individual once they have been incarcerated for that behavior.

Recidivism is a considerable problem in Illinois, with close to 60% of offenders returning to prison within five years. 43% of those released from prison each year go back within three years of release, and 17% return to prison within one year.

Aside from the social drain on the state’s resources, the average cost of each re-conviction is more than $150,000, including law enforcement, court costs and prison resources. Based on the current pattern of recidivism, the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council projects that the cost of Illinois’ high recidivism rates will cost the state $13 billion over the next five years.  

The high recidivism rate largely reflects the fact that recently incarcerated adults face overwhelming barriers to reentry, including job and housing discrimination, insufficient access to mental and physical healthcare, and a general lack of life management skills.  

Policy studies and research suggest that programs that assess individual risk and needs, while providing behavioral therapy, drug abuse treatment, and structured levels of community support and encouragement, are highly effective in reducing the rate of recidivism – and the related costs. Cost-benefit models at the state and national levels show that dedicating financial resources toward intervention to reduce recidivism is significantly less costly than allowing the cycle of recidivism to repeat itself.

While the need for transitional housing and services clearly exists, market analysis shows that it is not being met. As of January 2019, for example, only 3.5% of Illinois inmates had access to transitional housing, and of the 2,000 beds available, only 70% were being used. While a growing number of facilities do house residents in their last two to four years of incarceration, most of these organizations do not offer on-site medical care or partner with local colleges for education assistance, and many lack job training and permanent employment placement services. LifeHouse Group’s comprehensive, program-based model is designed to meet these needs. Please see the What is LifeHouse Group? and What Makes Us Different? discussions under the About Us section of our website for more information.

The Special Case for Veterans


Paroled veterans often suffer the added consequences of military service, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries and substance abuse. In selecting residents, LifeHouse Group gives preference to honorably discharged veterans, as we believe that the veteran population is particularly deserving of the opportunity for rehabilitation and reintegration to society after returning from serving their country.

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