"habit of relapsing" (into crime), 1882, from recidivist + -ism, modeled on French récidivisme, from récidiver.
recidivism re·cid·i·vism (rĭ-sĭd'ə-vĭz'əm)n.
A tendency to lapse into a previous pattern of behavior, especially a pattern of criminal habits.
The relapse of a disease or symptom. Also called recidivation.