I wish to advise the Deputy that the latest data in relation to recidivism (re-offending) rates for offenders who were given a custodial sentence or community sanction is contained in the fourth set of recidivism studies published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in December 2016. This and the previous three studies have allowed the Irish Prison Service and the Probation Service access to comprehensive data in relation to the rate of recidivism among ex-prisoner. These studies are on the website www.cso.ie.
The 2016 study reports on:
- Prison Recidivism which is a detailed study on those who were released from a custodial prison sentence in 2010 and whether they were subsequently convicted of a further offence up to the end of 2013 and
- Probation Recidivism which is a detailed study of recidivism among offenders placed under Probation Service supervision in 2010.
The Prison Recidivism Study’s findings indicate that the recidivism or re-offending rate was 45.1% for the particular cohort of offenders released in 2010. When compared with the equivalent cohort from the 2009 study there is a fall in recidivism of 2.4%. This follows the 3.5% decrease that was seen for the 2009 cohort from the previous report.
For the purposes of this study, release recidivism is defined as an individual committing a criminal offence (a 're-offence') within a three year period following their release from prison and being subsequently convicted for that offence. Internationally, sample selection and definitions of recidivism as well as follow up times & outcomes can vary considerably. These differences in recording and reporting practises can invalidate findings and make comparisons between countries difficult. In this respect, it will be noted that no link to an international comparison is provided in that section of the CSO website where the 2016 study is published.