As the Deputy may be aware, the Central Statistics Office regularly publishes both prison and probation re-offending statistics on their website www.cso.ie.
The Prison Re-offending Statistics measure the level of recorded re-offending by offenders who received a custodial sentence following their release from prison. The 3-year re-offending rate indicates the percentage of people who were convicted for a crime incident that was recorded within three years of their release. A further 2 years after the 3-year year period is set as the limit for a valid conviction to take place. The 1- year re-offending rate indicates the same measure but includes only those who were convicted of a crime within one year of their release, with a further year set as the time limit for the court outcome to take place.
According to the latest release of the Prison Re-offending Statistics 2011 – 2018, published in June of this year, out of the 1,323 persons who re-offended within a year of release in 2018, over a half (50.6%) re-offended in just two offence groups - theft (331) or public order related offences (339).
The Probation Re-offending Statistics measure the level of recorded re-offending by offenders that were placed under the management of the Probation Service. The re-offending rate indicates the percentage of people who were reconvicted for a crime incident that was recorded within a defined period (re-offence window) following the commencement of their Probation, Community Service or Post Release Supervision Order. The conviction must be within two years of the date that incident was recorded.
The latest Probation Re-offending Statistics 2017, published on 19 November, indicate that of the 1,368 individuals that re-offended within a year of receiving their probation orders in 2017, individuals were most likely to re-offend with an offence linked to Road and Traffic offences (23%), public order and other social code offences (22%), theft and related offences (17%), controlled drug offences (13%) and Offences against Government, justice procedures and organisation of crime (9%).
Further detailed statistical information can found at the CSO website statistics section at People and Society - Crime and Justice.
Non-custodial penalties, particularly supervised community sanctions, play a significant and important role in addressing criminality, reducing reoffending and providing a degree of protection to the public and this is supported by CSO figures on recidivism.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for Government 2020 contains a broad range of policies and proposals that represent a coherent approach to enhancing and sustaining a more just and safe society with a specific commitment to review policy options for prison and penal reform.
As part of this work, a cross-sectoral group which includes the Head of Criminal Justice Policy, the Director-General of the Irish Prison Service and the Director of the Probation Service was established last year. This Group is taking forward the Government’s commitment to review policy options for prison and penal reform and is due to report by the end of the year. This work will build on a number of initiatives that have been introduced over the past decade to reduce reoffending including Community Return and Community Support Schemes and the Joint Agency Response to Crime (JARC).