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Dublin: 15°C Tuesday 27 July 2021

Majority of criminals re-offend within three years

A major new study has found that convicted burglars re-offended seventy nine per cent of the time.

File photo of Mountjoy Prison
File photo of Mountjoy Prison
Image: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland

THE IRISH PRISON service has been described as “in no way fit for purpose” after a new report revealed the rates of re-offending in Ireland.

The report showed that sixty-two per cent of people leaving Irish prisons re-offended within three years, with eighty per cent of that number committing a crime within the first year of their release.

The numbers, revealed in the joint Irish Prison Service (IPS) and Central Statistics Office (CSO) Recidivism Study showed that older criminals are less likely to re-offend, but convicted burglars re-offended seventy-nine per cent of the time.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that the figures showed that the state must develop a model of change. Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said that the report showed a that the prison system was “not delivering across the board”.

The fundamental problem is that the penal reform system in this country does not rehabilitate people. It is in no way fit for purpose. We must look at a system of restorative justice and community service, particularly for people who are sentenced to anything below six months.

Mac Lochlainn, who as part of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice recently submitted a report on penal reform to the Justice Minister, added that the overall cost to the Irish taxpayer meant that a change in how we approach crime was necessary.

“With the current system, we pay far too much for each prisoners. Because they are not rehabilitated and re-offend, we pay again and again.

“It is costing us a fortune and we are not rehabilitating people.”

Read: Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences up 34 per cent

Read: Government gets €2.7 million in cash recouped from criminals

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