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Background Notes

    These statistics are categorised as Under Reservation. This categorisation indicates that the quality of these statistics do not meet the standards required of official statistics published by the CSO.

    For further information please refer to the Under Reservation FAQ page.

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This publication provides figures for the re-offending rates of individuals released from prison or having received a court fine sentence in the years 2011 to 2017 (the 2011 to 2017 cohorts).

The term “offences” in this report refers to crime incidents known to An Garda Síochána and recorded as such in the Garda PULSE (Police Using Leading Systems Effectively) system. Because of timing issues with respect to the extraction of data, figures may be revised after this publication.

Methodological updates

CSO's publication of prison related re-offending has been adjusted to include some methodological updates.

Further methodological details are available at: Prison Re-offending Estimates 2011-2017 Technical Note

There are 3 key changes that have taken place:

1. The release date of prisoners now incorporates early release dates to measure the time periods to re-offending incidents. Early release takes place when a prisoner receives a reduction in their custodial period and is released earlier than the court sentence they received. Historically, only the courts custodial release date was used to calculate periods to re-offending incidents. Incorporating the early release data has resulted in:

  • A more accurate calculation of the period between physical release and re-offence.
  • A more accurate determination of the prisoner’s year of release in cases where early release takes place in a different reference year to the court allocated release date. Table 8.1 below shows the changes between using the court reference date and the adjusted release date that uses the updated information from the prison service.

2. A re-committal to prison by a released prisoner during the re-offending periods (3 and 1 year) has now been included as a re-offending indicator in addition to the existing Garda PULSE identifiers of incidents and convictions. It has resulted in:

  • A more consistent re-offending indicator to measure re-offending.
  • More accurate measure of the time to the 1st re-offending incident (For example in 2017 an additional 214 custodial re-offenders (8%) were identified as re-offenders by being re-committed to custody in the reference period).

3. Prison related re-offending is now separated into custodial and fine sentence re-offending indicators. The update aims to provide a clearer indicator of re-offending related to two different forms of sanction. "Custodial / Prison re-offending" indicators are focused on prisoners who have served custodial sentences while fine sentence related re-offending is mainly related to non-custodial reprimands.

Table 8.1 Details of Release/Fine Sentences, 2011 - 2017

Overall, 6.9% of individuals who received a sanction of a fine sentence from court served a custodial period greater than 1 day between 2011 to 2017. See Table 8.2.

Table 8.2 Custodial periods served by individuals who received fine sentences 2011 - 2017

Data collection

These figures were produced using a combination of An Garda Síochána and Prison records. Since there is no direct link between the two systems, a statistical matching protocol was devised by the CSO to match Prison and Garda records. This protocol was updated in 2019 to capitalise on technological improvements that have become available in the 5 years since the report was first published. This revised matching process was applied to the 2011 and 2012 cohorts and will be applied to all subsequent cohorts until further notice.

Due to the absence of a unique identifier in the Irish Criminal Justice system, the matching process involves the comparison of individual records. In the region of 60% of all matches are matched automatically. That is, the name, address and date of birth details for the subject in the Prison dataset corresponds exactly with those details in the Garda PULSE dataset.

Due to data quality issues and limitations on the reliability of some information provided to law enforcement authorities, the remaining 40% of matches require manual examination. There are clear guidelines in place in relation to the selection or rejection of matches, but a certain level of subjectivity is inevitable in the absence of a unique identifier.

Crime recording

Incidents reported, or which become known to members of An Garda Síochána, are recorded when, on the balance of probability, a Garda determines that a criminal offence defined by law has taken place and there is no credible evidence to the contrary. If it is subsequently determined that a criminal incident did not take place, the record is invalidated and is not counted in the statistics. If a person makes a report and subsequently withdraws it, then this too is invalidated unless there is evidence to suggest that, by reasonable probability, the offence has taken place. 

For criminal incidents where victim confirmation is required (e.g. assault, fraud), a criminal incident is recorded only where the victim confirms the incident or where there is evidence to suggest that by reasonable probability it occurred.

Crime Classification

A criminal incident is classified as a particular offence type at the initial recording of that incident. However, upon investigation, it may later become apparent that an alternative offence type should be used. In this event, the record is amended to reflect this. Re-classification based on court proceedings only occurs in relation to homicide offences. The classification is used in this publication is the ICCSq.

ICCSQ Offence Groups 


Homicide offences

Manslaughter (traffic fatality)
Dangerous driving causing death


Sexual offences

Rape of a male or female
Rape Section 4
Unlawful carnal knowledge/Criminal law (Sexual Offences Act) 2006
Sexual offence involving mentally impaired person
Aggravated sexual assault
Sexual Assault
Child pornography offences
Child pornography – obstruction of warrant
Gross indecency


Attempts or threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences

Murder – attempt
Murder – threat
Assault causing harm
Assault or obstruction of Garda/official, resisting arrest
Minor assault
Harassment, stalking, threats
Demanding payment of debt causing alarm
Housing Act
Menacing phone calls
Incitement to hatred offences


Dangerous or negligent acts

Dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm
Driving/In charge of a vehicle while over legal alcohol limit
Driving/In charge of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs
Endangerment with potential for serious harm or death
Abandoning a child, child neglect and cruelty
Unseaworthy/dangerous use of a boat or ship
False alarm/interference with aircraft or air transport facilities
Endangering traffic offences


Kidnapping and related offences

False imprisonment
Abduction of person under 16 years of age
Human trafficking offences


Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences

Robbery of an establishment or institution
Robbery of cash of goods in transit
Robbery from the person
Blackmail or extortion
Carjacking, hijacking/unlawful seizure of aircraft/vessel


Burglary and related offences

Aggravated burglary
Burglary (not aggravated)
Possession of an article (with intent to burgle, steal, demand)


Theft and related offences

Theft/Unauthorised taking of a vehicle
Interfering with vehicle (with intent to steal item or vehicle)
Theft from person
Theft from shop
Theft from vehicle
Theft/Unauthorised taking of a pedal cycle
Theft of, or interference with, mail
Handling or possession of stolen property
Theft of other property


Fraud, deception and related offences

Fraud, deception, false pretence offences
Forging an instrument to defraud
Possession of an article for use in fraud, deception or extortion
Falsification of accounts
Offences under the Companies Act
Offences under the Investment Intermediaries Act
Offences under the Stock Exchange Act
Money laundering
Fraud against the European Union
Importation/Sale/Supply of tobacco
Counterfeiting notes and coins
Counterfeiting of goods
Bad debts criminal (Debtors Ireland)
Corruption (involving public office holder)


Controlled drug offences

Importation of drugs
Cultivation or manufacture of drugs
Possession of drugs for sale or supply
Possession of drugs for personal usevForged or altered prescription offences
Obstruction under the Drugs Act


Weapons and explosives offences

Causing an explosion
Making of explosives
Possession of explosives
Chemical weapons offences
Discharging a firearm
Possession of a firearm
Possession of offensive weapons (not firearms)
Fireworks offences (for sale, igniting etc.)


Damage to property and to the environment

Criminal damage (not arson)
Litter offences


Public order and other social code offences

Affray/Riot/Violent disorder
Public order offences
Drunkenness offences
Air rage-disruptive or drunken behaviour on aircraft
Forcible entry and occupation (not burglary)
Trespass on lands or enclosed areas
Liquor licensing offences
Registered clubs offences
Special restaurant offences
Provision of intoxicating liquor to under 18 year olds
Purchase or consumption of alcohol by under 18 year olds
Sale of intoxicating liquor to under 18 year olds
Brothel keeping
Organisation of prostitution
Prostitution, including soliciting etc.
Offences under the Betting Acts
Collecting money without permit, unauthorised collection
Offences under Gaming and Lotteries Acts
Permit/License offences for casual/street trading
Allowing a child (under 16 years) to beg


Road and traffic offences (NEC)

Driving licence-failure to have, produce etc.
Insurance-failure to have, produce, display etc.
No tax, non-display of tax, unregistered vehicle etc.
Misuse of Trade Licence
Misuse of trailers, weight and other offences
Obstruction under road traffic acts
Other road offences
Road transport – carriage of goods offences
Public service vehicle offences
Light rail offences (Luas)


Offences against Government, justice procedures and organisation of crime

Breaches of Offences Against the State Acts
Breaches of Official Secrets Act
Impersonating member of An Garda Síochána
Electoral offences including personation
Public mischief-annoying phone calls, wasting police time
Criminal Assets Bureau offences (organised crime)
Conspiracy to commit a crime
Interfering with a jury (embracery)
Assisting offenders
Public mischief, pervert course of justice, conceal offence
Escape or help to escape from custody
Prison offences
Breach of Domestic Violence Order (protection, safety, barring)
Breach of order under Family Law Act
Breach of bail
Failure to comply under Sex Offenders Act
Other failure to comply with court order, jury summons, warrant etc.

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