Repeat Offenders: Missouri Recidivism rate ranks among highest in nation, but it's not all bad news

KANSAS CITY, Missouri - More than half of Missouri's ex-cons are back behind bars three years after they're let out of prison, according to a recent report by the Pew Center.

The latest numbers, for offenders released in 2004, put the Show-Me State in a group with only five other states (Minnesota, California, Utah, Illinois and Alaska) with a recidivism rate of higher than 50 percent. Missouri's rate, 54.4 percent, ranks third highest in the entire country.

Nationwide, that average is 43.3 percent, down 2.1 percent. Even with the national drop, Missouri joins 14 other states that saw their recidivism rates increase.

Even with the high numbers, Missouri was recognized as one of three " success stories " in the report. The state's "e-driven supervision" of its parolees was lauded as a way to effectively decrease the number of repeat offenders.

The rate in Kansas dropped by 12 percent between 1999 and 2004, from 55 percent to just 42.

Wyoming and Oregon had the lowest recidivism rates, hovering below 25 percent.

Minnesota had the highest at 61 percent.

Experts are now questioning whether prisons are the most effective tool anymore in fighting crime.

You can read the Pew Center's entire report by clicking here .

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