Nearly half of prisoners re-offend - burglars most likely to be sent back to jail

Michael Culliton & Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Michael Culliton & Conor Ganly

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Midlands Prison Portlaoise

Almost half of prisoners released from jails in Portlaoise and elsewhere in Ireland in a single year are likely to reoffend, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CS0).

The survey, which uses Garda Síochána and Irish Prison Service records, also reveals that young people under 21 are three times more likely to re-offend than people aged 50 and over.

The Prison Recidivism analysis also shows that criminals who commit burglary are substantially more likely to break the law again than others who have been jailed.

Another striking trend is that reoffending is more likely to happen within 12 months of release from jails. 

In 2012, nearly three-quarters of prisoners under 21 had reoffended. Overall, the survey showed that as prisoners age, they are less likely re-offend with over 50s the least likely. 

The rate of male to female is high with just over a third of women reoffending in 2012 compared to almost half of males. The gender gap in 2012 is more than double for figures released in 2008.

Three-quarters of males under 21 had reoffended. This contrasts to just over half of young women reoffending. Notably, the reoffending rate does not vary too much between females aged 21 and 40.

The data also shows reoffending rates of women from 2008 and in 2012 dropped it is at its lowest point at 36%. The male rate was at its lowest in 2010.

The CSO also provides information about the crimes people had committed who reoffended. The percentage of people who re-offend is highest for those who commit burglary offences. Nearly seven out of 10 people convicted of burglary went on to re-offend in 2012). 

Those sentenced for sexual offences and fraud offences were least likely to re-offend.  Almost 20% for those convicted of a sexual offence reoffended. Just over 20% of those convicted of fraud offences in 2012 broke the law again.

Detail about how fast people reoffended is also revealed. Two-thirds of people reoffended within 12 months of being realised from prison. Almost half reoffended within 6 months of release.

Young offenders are more likely to re-offend sooner compared than older people. Of those under 21, just over half reoffended within six months. Of those over 51, 45% reoffended within six months of their release.

The CSO study analysed recidivism among over 10,000 offenders released in 2011 and 2012 and are based on reoffendings and reconvictions up to the end of 2014 and 2015.