Trends in Domestic Violence-Related Recidivism: A Nevada Case Study

Domestic violence is a significant societal problem affecting the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of millions of Americans each year. In addition to the impact on victims, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that costs associated with domestic violence-related incidents exceed $5.8 billion annually, with $4.1 billion associated with medical and mental health care costs.

As the formerly incarcerated transition back into the community, it is important to maximize effective reentry practices and opportunities to support returning citizens, while also protecting victims from future harm.


Our corporate-based mission, Knowledge for Good, drives Appriss’ Data Science Team to use data-driven technologies to solve complex societal and business problems.

The team recently conducted an in-depth assessment of domestic violence-related recidivism in collaboration with the State of Nevada Office of the Attorney General. The purpose of this study was to closely examine domestic violence-related recidivism in order to improve rehabilitation tactics, reduce crime, and strengthen overall public safety.

About the study

For the purposes of this study, the team examined Nevada incarceration data from 2005-2018, collected by Appriss Safety in association with its automated victim notification service, VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday).

The data analyzed included 3.2 million individual booking records across 21 facilities and 16 counties. Appriss employs proprietary consolidation and linking technology that ties together various identifiers (e.g., name, driver license, address, FBI number, offender ID, phone number, social security number, date of birth) to determine all of the bookings/charges associated with a particular offender. This enables a more comprehensive view of recidivism and a stronger assessment of the offender’s movements across state counties.

Recidivism measures generally require three characteristics:

  1. A starting event, such as a release from prison
  2. An observation or follow-up period that generally extends from the date of the starting event to a pre-defined end date (e.g., three years in this study)
  3. A measure of failure following the starting event, such as reincarceration

Appriss’ study assessed the occurrence of post-release recidivism events, and, as a result, includes a comprehensive understanding of recidivism over time. Variables analyzed include: geographic concentration, the recidivist’s criminal history, the recidivist’s time-to-reincarceration, the characteristics of domestic violence offenders, and the percent of transient domestic violence recidivists.

Key findings

  • The overall three-year domestic violence-related recidivism rate was 23%.
  • Three-year domestic violence-related recidivism rates from 2010 – 2018 showed little variation.
  • Domestic violence recidivists, on average, were younger and male. Additionally, the study found higher recidivism rates within minority communities.
  • Of those repeat domestic violence offenders, about half (48%) are reincarcerated within six months and 71% are re-incarcerated within one year.
  • Prior to an individual’s first domestic violence charge, possession/use of a controlled substance (history of drug use) had the highest rates of offenses for both males and females.
  • After an initial domestic violence charge, the percent of subsequent violent offenses, by gender, is comparable.
  • When compared to rural counties, urban counties illustrate a higher rate of domestic violence-related recidivism.

Why does this matter?

The findings from this study may be leveraged to help design more effective rehabilitation tactics for domestic violence offenders. Additionally, assessing the potential risk for re-offense via predictive analytics provides another safety measure that benefits victims and facilitates appropriate action plans for offender treatment.

Policy implications from this study suggest that understanding the profile and behavior pattern of a domestic violence offender may help to identify those who pose the greatest risk of future violence, and consequently, how their cases should be managed to reduce future violence. A comprehensive approach to targeting domestic violence recidivists will be instrumental in rehabilitation.

Daniel Downs, Ph.D., Senior Statistical Criminologist


Daniel Downs, Ph.D., Senior Statistical Criminologist

Dr. Daniel Downs is the Lead Data Scientist for Appriss Insights, with more than 10 years of experience in modeling and developing analytical solutions. Daniel is responsible for crime analytics, R&D, and applying advanced statistical techniques. Daniel holds a Ph.D. in Criminology and Law from the University of Illinois and is co-author of the how-to handbook for analytics in retail loss prevention, “Essentials of Modeling and Analytics: Retail Risk Management and Asset Protection.”

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