14th December, 2015
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, today welcomed the publication of the third Central Statistics Office Recidivism Studies for the Irish Prison Service and Probation Service.
The studies report on:
· Prison Recidivism which is a detailed study on those who were released from a custodial prison sentence in 2009 and were subsequently convicted of a further offence up to the end of 2012 and
· Probation Recidivism which is a detailed study of recidivism (re-offending) among offenders placed under Probation Service supervision in 2009.
The Prison Recidivism Study reports on recidivism among 7,507 offenders released by the Irish Prison Service on completion of a custodial sentence in 2009, based on reoffending and reconviction data up to the end of 2012.
The study’s findings indicate that the recidivism or re-offending rate was 47.5% for the particular cohort of offenders released in 2009. When compared with the equivalent cohort from the 2008 study there is a fall in recidivism of 3.5%. This follows the 4% decrease that was seen for the 2008 cohort in the last Report published in December 2013.
The report found that males made up most of the total population assessed and had a higher recidivism rate than females (48.2% for males and 41.2% among females). Re-offending among younger offenders is high (a rate of 54.4% for prisoners under 21 years of age).
Recidivism fell in most offence groups between 2008 and 2009. However, rises were observed for groups including Group 07 Burglary and related offences where rates rose from 60.8% to 69.9%.
The Probation Recidivism Study reports that close to 63% of offenders did not reoffend within a three-year period of being placed under Probation Service supervision. The re-offending rates were lower for females with almost 70% of females not reoffending in the period. When compared with the 2008 cohort the overall recidivism rate fell from 41.0% to 37.3% an absolute change of -3.8%.
The re-offending rate for offenders on Community Service Orders was lower; 67.5% did not re-offend in comparison with 61.6% in the 2008 cohort.
The re-offending rate for offenders on Probation Supervision was lower; almost 60% did not re-offend in comparison with 57.7% in the previous study.
Commenting on the report, Minister Fitzgerald said “I welcome the fact that recidivism levels for both those who were released from prison in 2009 and those who were supervised by the Probation Service have fallen by 3.5% and 3.7% respectively. I am confident that the joint initiatives recently introduced, including the Community Return and Community Support Schemes, will result in lower recidivism levels being reported in the prison cohort in future. I am very pleased with the continued improvement in offending reduction among those on probation supervision.”
“Our justice agencies are each very diverse groups, with their own roles and responsibilities. The Probation Service and the Irish Prison Service have signed a Joint Agency Response to Crime Protocol with the Garda Síochána. Their aim is to target, in a co-ordinated way, those prolific offenders who cause a high level of harm or disruption in communities. I am certain that, in collaboration with statutory, community and voluntary partners they will achieve an effective outcome.” added the Minister.
The Minister noted that prison recidivism had fallen in many groups and that burglary had the highest rate of recidivism at 69.9%. The Minister re-affirmed the Government’s commitment to address this issue saying “Burglary of a person’s home is traumatic crime and can have a devastating impact on our sense of security. I have said before that I am determined to keep burglars off the streets and to improve the safety of our communities. I have recently published the Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Bill 2015, which targets repeat burglary offenders through new measures relating to bail and the imposition of consecutive sentencing for repeat offending”
The Minister commended the work of the Central Statistics Office in facilitating the undertaking of the studies. The Minister acknowledged the continued partnership of the CSO with the Probation Service and Irish Prison Service in publishing these valuable studies which will inform the work of both services in helping to make communities safer and reduce victimisation.
Notes for Editors on Study and main findings
The Prison and Probation Recidivism Studies are available on the Central Statistics Office website at www.cso.ie
These research projects were undertaken in partnership with the Central Statistics Office, specifically the Crime Statistics Section, who facilitated the linking of Irish Prison Service data, Probation Service data, Garda Síochána records and Courts Service records. This type of cross-agency analysis of released prisoners has not been possible until recent years.
The findings mark an important contribution to criminological research in Ireland and highlight the need for a greater emphasis on a structured multi-agency approach to preparing prisoners for their release. It will also enable yearly monitoring of recidivism trends and the evaluation of rehabilitation interventions.
Prison Recidivism 2009 Cohort
· The Prison Recidivism Study for 2007 and 2008 was 55% and 51% respectively (-4%). The overall figure for 2009 is 47.5% a further decrease of 3.9%.
· A recidivism rate of 47.5% within three years.
· Over 79%of those who re-offended did so within 12 months of release with over 64% do so within the first 6 months.
· The recidivism rate decreased as the offender age increased.
· Male offenders represented 90% of the total population studied and had a higher recidivism rate than female offenders (48.2 for males and 41.2% among females).
· The most common offences for which offenders were reconvicted was Public Order Offences. (1,250)
· Burglary offenders, while a relatively small group within the study, had the highest rate of reconviction at 69.9%
Probation Recidivism 2009 Cohort
· The overall recidivism rate fell from 41.0% to 37.3% an absolute change of -3.8%.
· Close to 63% of offenders did not re-offend within a three-year period of being placed under Probation Service supervision
· The re-offending rates were lower for females with almost 70% of females not reoffending in the period
· 67.5% of those on Community Service Orders did not re-offend in comparison with 61.6% in the 2008 cohort
· Almost 60% of those on Probation Supervision did not re-offend in comparison with 57.7% in the previous study.
· The Garda operational strategy in relation to burglary coordinated under Operation Fiacla has led to over 14,000 arrests with just under 8,000 charges being brought since its inception in April 2012 to 31 July this year.
· Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Bill 2015, which targets repeat burglary offenders through new measures relating to bail and the imposition of consecutive sentencing for repeat offending
For further information Contact
Irish Prison Service
IDA Industrial Estate
Ph: 043 3335203
Fx: 043 3335371
Mb: 087 6674284