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Report published on recidivism rates in Ireland

30th May 2013

The Irish Prison Service, in partnership with the Central Statistics Office, has published a report on recidivism rates among ex-prisoners in Ireland. The report is based on a study of all prisoners released on completion of a sentence in 2007, using re-conviction data up to the end of 2010. The study also assesses variations in recidivism based on the age and gender of the offender, as well as the category of both the original offence and the subsequent offence.

Until now, only information related to re-imprisonment rates has been collated. This study, for the first time, provides information on recidivism where the new offence does not necessarily lead to a period of imprisonment. The Prison Service states in the report that it intends to publish, together with the Probation Service and Central Statistics Office, annual recidivism figures, in order to inform the development of interventions and to compare the success rates of different interventions and programmes.

The main findings of the report include:

  • The overall recidivism rate of offenders within three years was 62.3%.
  • Two thirds of re-offences occurred within six months of release.
  • Males made up 92% of the total population studied and had a higher recidivism rate than females (63% as opposed to 57%).
  • The recidivism rate decreased as the offender age increased. 68.5% of those under 21 years of age re-offended, compared to 39% of those in the 50+ age group.
  • The highest rate of recidivism was among those who had served a sentence for burglary and related offences (79.5%). Of these, most were re-convicted for burglary (57), public order (34) or theft (32) offences.
  • The lowest rates of recidivism were among those originally imprisoned for homicide (26%) and sexual offences (29%). Of these, most subsequent re-offences related to road and traffic offences (3) and public order offences (5) respectively.
  • The most common offence for which offenders were re-convicted was public order offences.

The full report is available on the Irish Prison Service website.