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Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence publishes Probation Service Recidivism Study 2007-2011

19th November 2012

Research undertaken by the The Probation Service, facilitated by the Central Statistics Office, has given a comprehensive overview of rates of recidivism for a group of offenders under supervision in the community over a period of 4 years.

The study, which began in 2007, dealt with a total population of 3,576, 64% of whom were subject to a Probation Order and 36% subject to a Community Service Order.

It has concluded that approximately 63% of the sample group had not re-offended within 2 years of their original conviction, the overall rate of recidivism being 37.2%.

It was found that those under an order of probation had a higher rate of recidivism at 39.3%, with 33.5% of those subject to a Community Service Order re-offending within 2 years.

Recidivism was highest in the 12 months following the original conviction (27.2%) with that percentage more than halving for the second 12 month period (10%). 

Males had a higher rate of recidivism than females (38% versus 32%). It was noted that this difference was smaller than had been expected considering the much smaller proportion of female offenders.

Age was also considered as a factor, with recidivism decreasing as the age of those studied increased. Although accounting for a small number of the population studied, offenders under 18 years of age had the highest rate at 53.6%, with this reducing to 41.2% for those between the ages of 18 and 24. 

With regard to the types of offence, those offences with the top 3 numbers of original convictions were also those with the highest rate of recidivism. Public order offences featured most prominently with a recidivism rate of 49.2%. 

Ultimately the report concludes that while some positive results have been recorded, there are also areas identified as needing further consideration and intervention. It also seems clear that data needs to be developed further.

The study may be read in full here.