Recividism in Nebraska


Reducing the number of people who return to prison is a key goal of any criminal justice system. In Nebraska, more than 70 percent of those discharged in 2019 have not returned to the custody of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) – a significant benchmark.

Recidivism is typically measured in three-year increments. Based on just released data, Nebraska’s recidivism rate has dropped to 29.8 percent.

This is the third year in a row that recidivism has trended downward in Nebraska. In comparison to publicly available data for surrounding states, Nebraska is the only one with a rate under 30%. We are in the top third nationally for low recidivism.

While many factors influence whether someone will return to prison, Nebraska’s recidivism rate supports that reentry services are working.

Opportunities offered through NDCS include clinical treatment, skills training and employment, prosocial activities, education, and more. The Vocational Life Skills (VLS) Program, which provides grants to community providers, has been a particular success.

In the last grant cycle (July 2020 – June 2022) participants completed nearly 4,800 programs.

NDCS takes the position that reentry begins at intake. Our focus on that goal is undeterred. We offer a robust platform of services and work in tandem with incarcerated individuals to address needs such as housing, medical and mental health, employment, education and transportation.

Of the 70.2 percent who have been out of prison for the past three years, they have an increased quality of life and are contributing members of families, employers and communities. An improvement in our recidivism rate means more transformed lives, which leads to our collective mission of keeping people safe.

Scott R. Frakes

Director, Nebraska Department of Correctional Services


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