Almost half of all prisoners reoffend within three years

CSO says true figure may be higher as not all offences recorded on Garda Pulse computer system

File photograph of the Midlands prison in Portlaoise by Bryan O’Brien. Almost half of all prisoners released in 2009 had reoffended within three years, a study by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has found.

File photograph of the Midlands prison in Portlaoise by Bryan O’Brien. Almost half of all prisoners released in 2009 had reoffended within three years, a study by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has found.

 

Almost half of all prisoners released in 2009 had reoffended within three years, a study by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has found.

The 47.5 per cent recidivism rate was a decrease from the 51 per cent recorded for prisoners who were released in 2008. The decrease did not apply for all categories of crime, with the recidivism rate for burglars increasing to 69.9 per cent from 60.8 per cent.

The numbers do not include prisoners who were subsequently convicted of minor road traffic offences, and the CSO has cautioned that as the statistics involve recorded offences, the true figure may be higher as a CSO review had found that not all offences reported to the Garda Síochána were recorded on its Pulse computer system.

In 2007, 7,507 individuals were released from custody, of which 3,563 reoffended within three years, based on the CSO’s exmination of prision service and Garda records.

The recidivism rate was higher for males than females, and decreased with increasing age. Likewise, the rate differed with differing categories of offences.

The lowest recidivism rates were amongst those jailed for sexual and fraud offences, while the higher were for those jailed for offences against Government, justice procedures and organisation of crime, and public order and social code offences.

The great majority of reoffenders (64.7 per cent) did so within six months of being released.

A separate study of recidivism among people who were placed on probation or community service orders in 2009, found that 37.3 per cent re-offended within three years. The rate was lower than the 41 per cent recorded for the 2008 cohort.

The CSO pointed out that the two groups, those sent to jail and those given probation and community service orders, involved people in different circumstances and so the differing recidivism rates should not be compared.