PolitiFact: How many criminals are repeat offenders?

Posted at 7:08 PM, Feb 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 20:23:02-05

It's a big issue: What to do about repeat offenders?
PolitiFact Wisconsin looks at a claim made by a Republican lawmaker as the state proposes new ways to address the problem. State lawmakers want to toughen penalties for violent repeat offender.
In a YouTube video to make that case - Representative Joe Sanfelippo made a claim about repeat offenders in Wisconsin. "Over 39% of violent criminals return to prison following their release," he said.

The New Berlin Republican also added repeat offenders were "terrorizing our neighborhoods."
PolitiFact Wisconsin looked at a recidivism report in 2016 by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. It found that roughly 27% committed violent crimes.
But Sanfellipo's 39% number also included people who ended up back in prison for violating conditions of their parole or probation.

"They may have missed a meeting or moved out of their home county. In other words they didn't commit a new crime, they were not terrorizing the neighborhood," said Dave Umhoefer with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
For that reason PolitiFact Wisconsin rated Sanfelippo's claim Mostly True.
"He was on target with the number," said Umhoefer, "but we knocked him down a little bit on the Truth-O-Meter because the context where he brought up. Terrorizing our neighborhoods isn't really quite right."