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Almost half of criminals released from prison re-offended within a year, new figures show

The number of offenders who go on to reoffend dropped from 54% in 2011 to 48% in 2018.

A general view of Cloverhill Prison in Dublin
A general view of Cloverhill Prison in Dublin
Image: PA Images

ALMOST HALF OF criminals released from a prison in 2018 re-offended within one year, research from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows.

The number of offenders who go on to reoffend dropped from 54% in 2011 to 48% in 2018.

The figures show that two-thirds of prisoners who went on to reoffend were given a custodial sentence for their new offence.

Offenders who served custodial sentences between three and six months prior to release in 2018 had the highest probability of re-offending within one year of release.

Prisoners released in the same year were most likely to re-offend by committing public order and other social code offences.

Looking at re-offending rates within three years of a custodial sentence shows that almost 62% of individuals released from custodial sentence in 2015 re-offended within three years, down from 68% in 2011.

The most common crimes were criminal damage to property and public disorder offences.

Younger people are more likely to re-offend, with more than 80% of individuals aged under 21 re-offending within three years of being released.

Prisoners released in 2015 from sentences related to burglary had the highest likelihood of re-offending within three years, in comparison to 20% of offenders released from custodial sentences for sexual offences who re-offended within three years of release.

Men continued to make up most custodial releases in 2015 – however, women are more likely to re-offend within three years of release than men.

CSO statistician Felix Coleman said: “In 2015, 62% of individuals released from custody were linked to a re-offending incident within three years of their release with the most frequent re-offending offence type relating to theft and related offences.

“The data also indicates that younger age groups of released individuals continue to be more likely to re-offend, with more than 83% of released individuals aged less than 21 at the time of leaving prison re-offending within three years of release.

“In contrast, just 27% of individuals who were over 50 years old re-offended within three years of release.

“There is a small difference in re-offending rates between males and females.

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“Although the clear majority of released individuals in 2015 were male (93%), slightly more females re-offended within three years (66%) than males (61%).

“Of the two-thirds of re-offenders from 2018 who received a custodial sanction for their re-offence, those whose offences were grouped among assault, attempts and threats to murder, harassment and related offences were the most likely to receive a custodial sanction (80%) rather than a non-custodial sanction such as a fine or suspended sentence.

“Also, in relation to one year re-offending, individuals were most likely to re-offend by committing offences related to public order and other social code offences (26%).

“Of these, 54% received a custodial sanction for their re-offence.

“It is worth noting that re-offending rates are falling over time whether one looks at three-year or one-year windows for re-offending following release from custody.

“A little more than 47% of individuals released in 2018 re-offended within one year of release, compared to 54% of individuals released in 2011 who re-offended within one year of release.”

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