27th September 2019
Statistics released on 24th September 2019 by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) indicate that almost half of prisoners released from custody in 2011 and 2012 were reconvicted with three years. The recidivism rate for 2012 was 45.8% and for 2011 was 48.9%*. Reoffending rates for previous years are as follows; 45.1% in 2010, 47.5% in 2009, 51% in 2008, and 62.3% in 2007, reflecting a decline since 2007 that has plateaued. The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, stated that he expects the figures to continue to decline, given the introduction in recent years of the Community Return Scheme, the Community Support Scheme, and the Joint Agency Response to Crime (JARC) initiative.
Younger prisoners were more likely to reoffend than older prisoners, with the recidivism rate for under 21s being over 70% for both 2011 and 2012. Male prisoners were more likely to reoffend than females in the 2011 and 2012 cohort.
IPRT welcomes the publication of this data, which helps to inform evidence-led policy decisions. Nonetheless, these figures demonstrate that more must be done to support desistance from crime post-release. IPRT are particularly concerned at the proportion of reoffending that took place within the first six months of release (48.5% for 2012).
Executive Director, Fíona Ní Chinnéide, talking to RTÉ News said: “pre-release planning and post-release supports must be improved” and that increased cooperation across relevant agencies is essential. The ongoing housing crisis has only exacerbated the barriers faced by individuals released from prison trying to regain stability in their lives.
IPRT comment was included in a number of media channels - see below.
*These statistics are under reservation to reflect data quality issues in the sources used to compile the data.
CSO: Prison Recidivism 2011 and 2012 Cohorts
Irish Penal Reform Trust: Prison recidivism rates must be reduced through improved post-release supports – IPRT
Department of Justice and Equality: Minister Flanagan welcomes downward trend in recidivism rates
Irish Examiner: Close to half of prisoners re-offended within three years of release
Irish Mirror: Almost half of Irish prisoners released in 2012 reoffended, CSO stats reveal
Belfast Telegraph: Figures show almost half of people released from prison re-offend within 3 years
Dublin Live: Almost half of Irish prisoners released in 2012 reoffended, CSO stats show
Irish Independent: Figures show almost half of people released from prison re-offend within 3 years
Irish Legal News: Nearly one in two prisoners released in 2012 reoffended within three years
Newstalk: Why do so many prisoners re-offend?
RTÉ News: Six One 24th September 2019 (at 16:40)
Virgin Media News: News at 5.30 (24th Sept 2019)
Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.