LOS ANGELES (CBS) — States spend $52 billion a year to put people who break the law behind bars. But what happens to many ex-convicts after they get out of prison?

A recent survey conducted by The Pew Center on the States found that more than four in 10 offenders return to state prison within three years of their release.

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“That’s disappointing because we’ve seen that same rate for about the past 20 years or so. We’ve had a massive increase in state spending on prisons, but the national recidivism rate remains stubbornly high,” Adam Gelb with The Pew Center on the States said.

Gelb spoke with KNX 1070 Newsradio about the survey, which took a state-by-state look at the recidivism rate.

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“About half the states in the survey did show reductions in recidivism and the other half were increasing. So nationally, the numbers wash out. But there are some states like Texas, like Michigan, like Missouri and Oregon that are getting better results,” Gelb added.

Minnesota has the highest recidivism rate with 61 percent and California has 50 percent.

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“Corrections is the second fastest growing segment of state budgets behind only Medicaid and now one in every eight state employees works for the Department of Corrections,” Gelb said.