Irish Penal Reform Trust

Prison recidivism rates must be reduced through improved post-release supports – IPRT

24th September 2019

New CSO figures published today find that 45.8% of people released from prison in 2012 reoffended within 3 years. Almost half reoffended within the first 6 months and two-thirds within the first 12 months of release from prison. In response, IPRT is calling on Government to introduce a statutory obligation on housing, health, social protection, education and employment to co-operate around prisoner release. This will improve outcomes for individuals released from prison, reduce reoffending and make communities safer.

Responding to the CSO figures today, Fíona Ní Chinnéide, Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust said:

“Almost half of reoffending occurred within the first 6 months of release from prison, and two-thirds within the first year. This tells us that pre-release planning and post-release supports must be improved. 

 “What happens immediately outside the prison gates is critical. Put simply, if someone is released from prison into short-term hostel accommodation or homelessness, the outcomes are less likely to be positive. We are calling on Government to introduce a statutory obligation across departments and agencies responsible for housing, health, social protection, education and jobs to co-operate around prisoner release. This will reduce reoffending and make communities safer.

 “Reoffending continues to be highest among young males aged between 18 and 25. This is not a surprise. We know that prison has a particularly recidivist effect on young adults aged under 21. The new Youth Justice Strategy currently in development is an opportunity to invest in more effective alternatives for 18-24s, such as mentoring, intensive case management and restorative justice.

 “Most subsequent offences following release from prison were for road and traffic offences, public order offences, theft and controlled drug offences.These offences are often linked to underlying issues, such as addictions, poverty and homelessness – issues that a period of imprisonment only compounds.”

There was a reduction in prison recidivism rates from 2011 (48.9%) to 2012 (45.8%).

The highest rates of reoffending were among those originally imprisoned for robbery (72.3%), burglary (69.4%) and theft (61.6%). The highest number of subsequent offences of the 2012 cohort were for road and traffic offences (991), public order offences (801), and theft (509) followed by controlled drug offences (378).

IPRT notes that the CSO figures published today relate to people released from prison in 2011 and 2012. Evaluations of initiatives introduced since 2014, for example, the Joint Agency Response to Crime (J-ARC) have been broadly positive. Publication and analysis of up-to-date recidivism figures is necessary to both assess and respond to the current situation.

For further comment, please contact Fíona at: +353 87 181 2990

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

IPRT was responding to 'Prison Recidivism 2011 and 2012 Cohorts' data published by the Central Statistics Office on 24th September 2019. See here.

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) is Ireland's leading non-governmental organisation campaigning for the rights of everyone in prison and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy, with prison as a last resort. See: www.iprt.ie

On Friday 25 October 2019 at 11.30am, IPRT will launch our third annual ‘Progress in the Penal System’ (PIPS) report at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, Green Street, Dublin 7. Follow www.iprt.ie for more details. 

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.

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