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|Offender numbers classified by whether there was a re-offence within three years, 2009 cohort|
|Re-offence within three years||Recidivism1 rate|
|All persons age group|
|1 See Background Notes.|
This release is a study of unique individuals who were released from the custody of the Irish Prison Service in the year 2009, and their subsequent levels of re-offending (which is termed recidivism, and is based on first subsequent conviction). Please see the Background Notes for detailed information on how recidivism is defined (certain road traffic offences are not included in the definition); the scope and extent of this study; and how these figures were produced.
In 2009, some 7,507 individuals were released from the custody of the Irish Prison Service. Of these, 3,563 (47.5%) re-offended within a three-year period However, there are significant differences in the re-offending rates (recidivism) when considering age, sex and the initial offence for which the offender was imprisoned (imprisonment offence). See table 1.
The CSO resumed the publication of recorded crime statistics in June 2015. This follows a comprehensive review of the accuracy of Garda Síochana crime data, on foot of the Garda Inspectorate report on Crime Investigation, published 11th November 2014. When interpreting the recorded crime statistics, the CSO advises that the findings of the review should be taken into account.
In particular, the CSO recommends that caution be applied to the measure of recidivism. Recidivism measures are based on recorded offences, however, the CSO review found that not all offences reported to An Garda Síochana were being recorded on PULSE. As a result, it is possible that the rate of recidivism would be higher if this “recording gap” did not exist.
Rate comparison 2008 and 2009
The recorded recidivism rate in 2009 was 47.5%, a decrease from the 51.0% recorded in 2008. This fall is also visible when considering the demographic profile of offenders. For example, male re-offending fell from 51.5% to 48.2% between 2008 and 2009 while female re-offending rates fell from 46.2% to 41.2%. See table 1.
Recidivism fell in most offence groups between 2008 and 2009. However, rises were observed for groups including Group 07 Burglary and related offences where rates rose from 60.8% to 69.9%.
Recidivism was higher for males than females and for younger age groups. Almost 80% of re-offences occurred within 12 months of release.
Of the 7,507 individuals released in 2009, 90.0% (6,757) were male, over 55% were aged 30 years or less, and a small proportion (4.2%) aged 51 years or greater.
Of released individuals, 15.8% had been imprisoned for Group 13 Public Order and Other Social Code Offences and 9.8% imprisoned for Group 08 Theft and Related Offence andalmost 24.4% for Group 14 Road Traffic Offences (NEC). See table 1.
Recidivism by age and sex
Of the 6,757 males released in 2009, 48.2% reoffended within three years, while the corresponding figure for females was 41.2%. See table 1 and figure 1.
Overall, recidivism rates decreased with age. While 54.4% of individuals aged less than 21 years re-offended; the recidivism rate fell to 27.2% for the 51-60 year age category and 16.7% for those aged 61 years and older (though it is important to note that there were only 78 individuals in the latter age group).
Initial Imprisonment offence
Recidivism rates differed by initial imprisonment offence. The lowest rates were recorded for Group 02 Sexual Offences (21.1%), and Group 09 Fraud, Deception and Related Offences (27.2%).
The highest rates were recorded for Group 15 Offences against Government, Justice Procedures and Organisation of Crime (60.6%) and Group 13 Public Order and other Social Code Offences (60.5%). See table 1.
Initial Imprisonment offence and re-offence
Of the 3,563 re-offenders, 2,381 (67.1%) committed a first subsequent re-offence either in Group 13 Public Order and Other Social Code Offences, Group 08 Theft and Related Offences or Group 10 Controlled Drug Offences. See table 2.
When considering initial imprisonment offences, and subsequent re-offences, different trends were seen across different offence groups. Of the 715 re-offences where the initial offence was classified under Group 13 Public Order and Other Social Code Offences, 366 (51.2%) of the subsequent re-offences were also classified under Group 13.
Such a relationship between imprisonment offence and subsequent re-offence is not as evident in other groups. For example of re-offenders initially imprisoned for Group 08 Theft and Related Offences, 189 (39.5%) re-offended in the same group, while 98 (20.5%) re-offended in Group 13 Public Order and Other Social Code Offences.
Time to re-offence and re-offending rate
Of the 3,563 individuals who re-offended, the great majority (2,304 or 64.7%) did so within the first six months of official release from custody. See tables 2 and 3.
|Table 1 Offender numbers classified by sex, age group, initial imprisonment offence and whether there was a re-offence within three years, 2008 and 2009 cohort|
|2008 cohort||2009 cohort|
|Re-offence within||Recidivism1||Re-offence within||Recidivism||Recidivism|
|three years||rate||three years||rate||rate|
|Total offenders||2,802||2,687||5,489||51.0||3,563||3,944||7,507||47.5||- 3.6|
|Male age group|
|<21 years||365||268||633||57.7||465||376||841||55.3||- 2.4|
|61 +||14||48||62||22.6||11||64||75||14.7||- 7.9|
|Female age group|
|All persons age group|
|<21 years||379||288||667||56.8||496||416||912||54.4||- 2.4|
|61 +||15||50||65||23.1||13||65||78||16.7||- 6.4|
|Initial Imprisonment offence|
|01 Homicide offences||16||18||34||47.1||12||25||37||32.4||-14.6|
|02 Sexual offences||11||63||74||14.9||19||71||90||21.1||+6.2|
|03 Attempts/Threats to murder,|
|assaults, harassments and|
|related offences||251||182||433||58.0||256||199||455||56.3||- 1.7|
|04 Dangerous or negligent acts||203||302||505||40.2||292||516||808||36.1||- 4.1|
|05 Kidnapping and related offences||7||4||11||63.6||7||5||12||58.3||- 5.3|
|06 Robbery, extortion and|
|07 Burglary and related offences||96||62||158||60.8||128||55||183||69.9||+9.2|
|08 Theft and related offences||441||283||724||60.9||481||252||733||65.6||+4.7|
|09 Fraud, deception and related|
|10 Controlled drug offences||192||200||392||49.0||228||260||488||46.7||- 2.3|
|11 Weapons and explosives offences||75||72||147||51.0||99||56||155||63.9||+12.9|
|12 Damage to property and|
|to the environment||164||124||288||56.9||198||128||326||60.7||+3.8|
|13 Public order and other social|
|code offences||549||290||839||65.4||716||467||1,183||60.5||- 4.9|
|14 Road and traffic offences (NEC)||390||715||1,105||35.3||543||1,288||1,831||29.7||- 5.6|
|15 Offences against Government, justice procedures and organisation of crime|
|16 Offences not elsewhere classified||130||168||298||43.6||145||256||401||36.2||- 7.5|
|1 See Background Notes.|
|Table 2 Re-offender numbers classified by initial imprisonment offence and subsequent re-offence, 2009 cohort|
|Initial Imprisonment offence|
|01 Homicide offences||0||0||0||1||0||0||1||1||0||3||0||1||5||0||0||12|
|02 Sexual offences||0||0||3||3||0||0||1||2||1||1||1||1||4||2||0||19|
|03 Attempts/Threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences||1||0||15||15||0||3||18||44||1||22||8||13||104||12||0||256|
|04 Dangerous or negligent acts||0||1||14||50||0||3||14||43||3||30||3||11||105||13||2||292|
|05 Kidnapping and related offences||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||4||0||0||7|
|06 Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences||0||0||3||2||0||3||2||4||0||4||0||2||4||1||0||25|
|07 Burglary and related offences||0||0||3||4||0||2||25||27||0||13||1||7||37||9||0||128|
|08 Theft and related offences||0||0||14||22||0||19||43||189||7||45||10||15||98||17||2||481|
|09 Fraud, deception and related offences||0||0||1||6||0||0||6||10||2||4||0||1||8||2||1||41|
|10 Controlled drug offences||0||0||8||23||0||4||10||33||1||67||5||3||61||13||0||228|
|11 Weapons and explosives offences||0||0||4||7||0||2||10||17||0||17||4||4||29||5||0||99|
|12 Damage to property and to the environment||0||0||13||13||0||5||14||41||2||15||10||16||62||6||1||198|
|13 Public order and other social code offences||0||1||27||54||1||5||29||93||7||64||11||27||366||30||1||716|
|14 Road and traffic offences (NEC)||1||0||27||80||0||3||19||90||10||89||17||7||174||22||4||543|
|15 Offences against Government, justice procedures and organisation of crime||0||0||7||18||0||8||15||89||3||29||9||18||144||33||0||373|
|16 Offences not elsewhere classified||0||1||6||15||1||1||13||30||2||13||4||4||45||8||2||145|
|Table 3 Re-offenders classified by time period to first re-offence, sex and age group, 2009 cohort|
|Time period to first re-offence|
|Less than 6 months1||6<12||12<18||18<24||24<36||Total|
|Male age group|
|Female age group|
|All persons age group|
|1 Includes those who re-offended before official release date.|
|Table 4 Re-offenders classified by age group and initial imprisonment offence, 2009 cohort|
|Re-offended within three years||Recidivism1 rate (%)|
|Age group||Age group|
|Initial imprisonment offence|
|01 Homicide offences||2||1||4||2||3||0||0||0||12||66.7||10.0||57.1||33.3||60.0||0.0||0.0||-||32.4|
|02 Sexual offences||0||8||3||0||3||4||0||1||19||0.0||72.7||33.3||0.0||33.3||20.0||0.0||5.6||21.1|
|03 Attempts/Threats to murder,|
|assaults, harassments and related offences||37||102||55||29||17||11||5||0||256||59.7||62.2||57.3||56.9||50.0||28.9||62.5||0.0||56.3|
|04 Dangerous or negligent acts||20||79||67||47||30||40||9||0||292||41.7||46.7||34.9||33.8||34.1||32.0||23.7||0.0||36.1|
|05 Kidnapping and related offences||0||4||1||1||0||1||0||0||7||-||100.0||33.3||25.0||-||100.0||-||-||58.3|
|06 Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences||5||6||2||8||3||1||0||0||25||83.3||66.7||22.2||100.0||75.0||50.0||-||-||65.8|
|07 Burglary and related offences||17||42||22||25||13||6||2||1||128||48.6||80.8||66.7||92.6||68.4||50.0||50.0||100.0||69.9|
|08 Theft and related offences||70||128||112||86||37||34||12||2||481||65.4||67.7||63.6||67.2||55.2||70.8||80.0||66.7||65.6|
|09 Fraud, deception and related offences||3||11||8||9||4||6||0||0||41||50.0||44.0||36.4||32.1||19.0||16.2||0.0||0.0||27.2|
|10 Controlled drug offences||23||68||77||34||17||7||2||0||228||54.8||47.9||59.7||43.0||32.7||21.9||20.0||0.0||46.7|
|11 Weapons and explosives offences||20||29||20||14||8||6||2||0||99||74.1||65.9||62.5||63.6||72.7||40.0||50.0||-||63.9|
|12 Damage to property and to the environment||47||73||37||18||12||9||1||1||198||72.3||74.5||63.8||56.3||50.0||25.0||10.0||33.3||60.7|
|13 Public order and other social code offences||122||234||124||75||61||79||17||4||716||58.7||62.1||63.6||58.1||58.1||60.8||50.0||80.0||60.5|
|14 Road and traffic offences (NEC)||58||196||131||68||38||42||9||1||543||32.8||34.9||30.9||26.6||28.4||21.5||13.4||6.3||29.7|
|15 Offences against Government, justice|
|procedures and organisation of crime||47||108||59||61||41||48||8||1||373||61.8||64.7||56.2||58.1||56.9||65.8||61.5||20.0||60.6|
|16 Offences not elsewhere classified||25||37||30||21||10||16||4||2||145||54.3||52.9||40.5||31.8||23.3||26.7||12.9||18.2||36.2|
|1 See Background Notes.|
The Prison Recidivism, 2009 release provides figures for the re-offending rates of those released from the custody of the Irish Prison Service in 2009. These figures were produced using a combination of Garda Síochána and Prison Service records, based on the Irish Crime Classification System (ICCS).
The term “offences” in this report refers only 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 subsequent to this publication.
The production of these statistics involved the combination of Garda PULSE and Prison PRIS (Prison Computer System) data. 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. For this report, prison releases from 2009 were linked from Prison PRIS to their corresponding entries in the Garda PULSE system. Numerous quality control tests were then conducted to verify the accuracy of this matching system, in addition to various consultations with academics specializing in criminology.
For this report, a re-offender is defined as an individual who committed a recorded offence within three years of prison release date; and who is subsequently convicted in court proceedings. For example, if a person is released on December 31st 2009, and committed an offence on the December 31st 2012, they would be considered as having reoffended within three years if the court proceedings lead to a conviction.
Offences such as Minor road traffic offences are not included in the definition of recidivism, which is a change from the previous year’s publication.
Court proceedings leading to a conviction
From Garda PULSE, the court date is used to mark the commencement of criminal proceedings. Court proceedings leading to a conviction do not include those cases where appeals are pending. The fact that an individual is suspected of committing an offence is not enough evidence for re-offender status to be designated; a conviction must have been secured.
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 offence did not take place, the criminal offence recorded is invalidated and is not counted in the statistics. If a person makes a report and subsequently withdraws it by stating that the criminal act did not take place, then this too is invalidated unless there is evidence to suggest that, by reasonable probability, the offence has taken place.
For criminal offences where victim confirmation is required (e.g. assault, fraud), a criminal offence is recorded only where the victim confirms the offence or where there is evidence to suggest that by reasonable probability it occurred. Another important feature of a recorded offence is that it is based on the date reported to, or that it became known to, the Gardaí. This has major implications for some offence types. Notable amongst these are sexual offences, as it has often been the case that such incidents have been reported to An Garda Síochána many years (sometimes decades) after the event(s). Thus a sexual assault, which occurred in 1960, would be included in the statistics for 2009 if it was first reported in that year.
A criminal offence is classified as a particular offence type at the initial recording of that offence. 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 on the basis of court proceedings only occurs in relation to homicide offences. A murder offence is reclassified as manslaughter when a charge of manslaughter commences or when a murder charge results in a conviction for manslaughter. It is also possible, though more rare, that an incident originally classified as manslaughter may be re-classified as murder. Also, a re-classification to a homicide offence occurs when, for example, a serious assault has been recorded and, some time later, the victim dies as a consequence of the assault.
General Counting Rules
Crime counting rules are applied to all criminal offences for the purposes of the statistics. The following are the main rules relevant to the quarterly figures:
Primary Offence Rule: Where two or more criminal offences are disclosed in a single episode, it is the primary criminal offence that is counted. The primary offence is that offence which the greater penalty may apply. Where offences have similar penalties, offences against the person take precedence over offences against property for the purpose of determining the primary offence.
One Offence Counts Per Victim: One offence counts per victim involved with the exceptions of cheque/credit card fraud and burglary. Under certain circumstances, the cheque/credit card exception necessitates that a series of these offences counts as one crime where the originating bank ultimately suffers the loss. The burglary exception dictates that one burglary offence is counted where property belonging to two or more victims is stolen (or damaged) during a single burglary.
Continuous Series Involving the Same Victim and Same Offender: A continuous series of offences against the same victim involving the same offender counts as one offence.
|ICCSq Offence Groups|
|Manslaughter (traffic fatality)|
|Dangerous driving causing death|
|02||Sexual offences||Rape of a male or female|
|Rape Section 4|
|Unlawful carnal knowledge / Criminal law|
|(Sexual Offences Act) 2006|
|Sexual offence involving mentally|
|Aggravated sexual assault|
|Child pornography offences|
|Child pornography – obstruction of warrant|
|03||Attempts or threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences||Murder-attempt|
|Assault causing harm|
|Assault or obstruction of Garda/official,|
|Harassment, stalking, threats|
|Demanding payment of debt causing alarm|
|Menacing phone calls|
|Incitement to hatred offences|
|04||Dangerous or||Dangerous driving causing serious bodily|
|Driving/In charge of a vehicle while over|
|legal alcohol limit|
|Driving/In charge of a vehicle under the|
|influence of drugs|
|Endangerment with potential for serious|
|harm or death|
|Abandoning a child, child neglect and|
|Unseaworthy/dangerous use of boat or|
|False alarm/interference with aircraft or|
|air transport facilities|
|Endangering traffic offences|
|05||Kidnapping and||False imprisonment|
|related offences||Abduction of person under 16 years of|
|Human trafficking offences|
|06||Robbery, extortion||Robbery of an establishment or institution|
|and hijacking||Robbery of cash or goods in transit|
|offences||Robbery from the person|
|Blackmail or extortion|
|Carjacking, hijacking/unlawful seizure of|
|07||Burglary and||Aggravated burglary|
|related offences||Burglary (not aggravated)|
|Possession of an article|
|(with intent to burgle, steal, demand)|
|08||Theft and related||Theft/Unauthorised taking of vehicle|
|offences||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|
|Theft of, or interference with, mail|
|Handling or possession of stolen property|
|Theft of other property|
|09||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|
|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)|
|10||Controlled drug||Importation of drugs|
|offences||Cultivation or manufacture of drugs|
|Possession of drugs for sale or supply|
|Possession of drugs for personal use|
|Forged or altered prescription offences|
|Obstruction under the Drugs Act|
|11||Weapons and||Causing an explosion|
|explosives offences||Making of explosives|
|Possession of explosives|
|Chemical weapons offences|
|Discharging a firearm|
|Possession of a firearm|
|Possession of offensive weapons|
|Fireworks offences (for sale, igniting etc.)|
|12||Damage to property and to the environment||Arson|
|Criminal damage (not arson)|
|13||Public order and other social code offences||Affray/Riot/Violent disorder|
|Public order offences|
|Air rage-disruptive or drunken behaviour|
|Forcible entry and occupation|
|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|
|Organisation of prostitution|
|Prostitution, including soliciting etc.|
|Offences under the Betting Acts|
|Collecting money without permit,|
|Offences under Gaming and Lotteries Acts|
|Permit/License offences for casual/street|
|Allowing a child (under 16 years) to beg|
|14||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 tranport - carriage of goods offences|
|Public service vehicle offences|
|Light rail offences (Luas)|
|15||Offences against Government, justice procedures and organisation of crime||Treason|
|Breaches of Offences Against the State|
|Breaches of Official Secrets Act|
|Impersonating member of An Garda|
|Electoral offences including personation|
|Public mischief-annoying phone calls,|
|wasting police time|
|Criminal Assets Bureau offences|
|Non compliance with Garda direction|
|Criminal organisation offences|
|Conspiracy to commit a crime|
|Interfering with a jury (embracery)|
|Public mischief, pervert course of justice, conceal offence|
|Escape or help to escape from custody|
|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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