Study: American prisoners more likely to reoffend than Guantanamo detainees.

Prisoners released from Guantanamo have a recidivism rate five times lower than American prisoners. That’s based on comparing the Defense Department’s 14% rate with the DOJ’s general recidivism stats. Those 14% are merely suspected of planning crimes, so I’ve compared them to the 67.5% of released American prisoners who are arrested. So either these suspected terrorists are better human beings than the average U.S. prisoner or they’re five times more likely to be innocent.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

4 replies on “Study: American prisoners more likely to reoffend than Guantanamo detainees.”

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone claims that this proves that secret prisons, trials and torture are effective. Look! They learned their lesson and straightened.

  2. Even the supposed 14% figure is meaningless without names of the men and specifications of the alleged illegal activities after their release.

    In one of the several such reports put out in the last couple of years by the Pentagon’s propaganda office, one of the instances of “returning to the battlefield” was writing an op ed for a U.S. paper opposing the Bush administration’s detention policies (counted as three instances of “recidivism” because it was written by three former prisoners).

  3. Report itself has now been released, and it’s even weaker and crappier than I thought when the summary was reported by the Pentagon. See here at Talking Points Memo:

    In fairness, there is a tiny but nonzero number of the 600+ prisoners released from Guantanamo who have gotten involved in terrorist organizations or armed opposition to U.S. military presence since. Steve Coll’s recent piece in the New Yorker on Afghanistan and Pakistan opens with one example, a former prisoner who is now a Taliban leader.

    To use the few actual examples of post-release armed hostility to permanently deform our justice system, as it appears the current administration is considering, would mean the actual triumph of the Bush administration’s conscious criminal decision to hold people for years with no evidence of terrorist involvement and no due process. (Nor did the previous admin make any effective effort to assemble any, a giant red flag that there was nothing there to begin with and no intention ever to release or try most of those remaining at Guantanamo).

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