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For more information on this release:
E-mail: Tim Linehan (+353) 21 453 5264
For general information on CSO statistics: (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-7077
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Probation Recidivism

2009 cohort

Offender numbers classified by whether there was a re-offence within three years, 2009 cohort
  Re-offence within three yearsRecidivism1 rate
Total offenders1,4362,4183,85437.3
All persons age group    
65 +015150.0
Probation type    
Community service4861,0081,49432.5
Probation order9501,4102,36040.3
1 See Background Notes.

Over 37% of offenders re-offended within three years

Recidivism rates by age and sex, 2009 cohort
go to full release

This release is a study of unique individuals who were placed on Probation Orders or Community Service Orders in the year 2009 (the 2009 cohort), and their subsequent levels of re-offending (which is termed recidivism, and is based on first subsequent conviction).  A comparison table with the 2008 cohort is also included. Please see the Background Notes for detailed information on how recidivism is defined; the scope and extent of this study; and how these figures were produced. 

In 2009, 3,854 individuals were placed on Probation orders or Community service orders. Of these, 1,436 (37.3%) re-offended within a three-year period. However, the re-offending rates (recidivism) differed significantly when considering demographic factors, type of Probation service supervision and the initial offence which placed the individual on probation (the referral offence).  See table 1. 

Recidivism was higher for males than females and for younger age groups; it also varied significantly by referral offence.  Just over 40% re-offences occurred within 12 months of commencing probation. 

When compared with 2008, the overall recidivism rate fell from 41.0% to 37.3%, an absolute change of -3.8%. Recidivism by males decreased to 38.3% in 2008 while females fell to 30.4%.

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.


Re-offenders by age group, 2009 cohort

Re-offenders by time period to first re-offence and probation type, 2009 cohort

Rate comparison 2008 and 2009 

Recidivism rates fell by 3.8% between 2008 and 2009.  When considering age and sex, these trends were repeated.  Recidivism among males fell by 3.8% to 38.3% in 2009 while female recidivism fell by 3.6% to 30.4% in the same periods.  Falls in the recidivism rates were also observed across all age groups.  See table 1. 

However, the recidivism male referrals aged less than 18 years of age rose from 59.9% in 2008 to 65.2% in 2009. The re-offending rates for males aged between 45 and 64 years also increased by 1.1% to 25.3% in 2009. 

Recidivism among those referred to Community Service has fell by almost 6%, while recidivism among those under Probation Orders fell by 2.0% between 2008 and 2009.

Recidivism by age and sex 

Of the 3,338 males in the 2009 cohort, 38.3% reoffended within three years, while the corresponding figure for females was 30.4%.  See table 1 and figure 1. 

Recidivism rates decreased with age group.  While 62.3% of individuals aged less than 18 years re-offended; the recidivism rate fell to 26.0% in the 45-64 year age category, and to 0% in the 65 years and older age category (though it is important to note that only 15 individuals were in the latter age group).

Type of probation

When considering those placed on Community service orders (1,494), some 486 (32.5%).re-offended within a three-year-period.  In contrast, the recidivism rate of those issued with Probation orders was 40.3% (950 individuals). 

Initial referral offence

Recidivism rates differed by initial offence (the offence for which the individual was placed on Probation service supervision).  While 26.2% of the 225 individuals referred for Group 04 Dangerous and Negligent Acts offences re-offended, the re-offending rates for Group 07 Burglary and Related Offences was 49.4% and 42.3% for Group 11 Weapons and Explosives Offences.  

Initial referral offence and re-offence

Of the 1,543 re-offenders from the 2009 cohort, 42.1% (685) committed a first subsequent re-offence in the category of Group 13 Public Order and Other Social Code Offences, while 239 (16.7%) of re-offences were in Group 08 Theft and Related Offences; 111 (7.7%) for Group 10 Controlled Drugs Offences and 116 (8.1%) for Group 04 Dangerous and Negligent Acts offences.  See table 2. 

When considering referral offences, and subsequent re-offences, different trends were seen across different offence groups.  Of the 294 re-offences where the initial offence was classified under Group 13 Public Order and Other Social Code Offences, 180 (61.2%) of the subsequent re-offences were also classified under Group 13. 

Such a relationship between referral offence and subsequent re-offence is not as evident in other groups. For example, of re-offenders initially referred for Group 08 Theft and Related Offences, 104 (34.2%) re-offended in the same group, while 86 (28.3%) re-offended in Group 13 Public Order and Other Social Code Offences.

Initial referral offence and age group

As noted in paragraph 2 above, a general trend is that re-offending rates decrease with age.  However, the extent to which this occurs differs significantly for different referral offences. 

Re-offending rates for those referred for Group 13 Public Order and Related Offences varied from 66.7% for those aged 18 years or younger to 30.3% in the 45-64 year age group.  This effect is particularly noticeable in Group 03 Attempts or Threats to Murder, Assaults, Harassments and Related Offences, where 55.9% of individuals in the <18 year age group re-offended while only 23.8% of individuals in the 25-44 year age group re-offended.  See table 4.

The relationship between time to re-offence and re-offending rates

Of the 1,436 individuals who re-offended, 40.9% did so within the first twelve months, while an additional 28.9% did between the 12 to 24 months of referral to the Probation Service.  

Table 1 Offender numbers classified by sex, age group, probation type, probation referral offence and whether there was a re-offence within three years, 2008 and 2009 cohort
2008 cohort 2009 cohort  
Re-offence withinRecidivism1 Re-offence withinRecidivism Recidivism
three yearsrate three yearsrate rate
YesNoTotal% YesNoTotal% change
Total offenders1,5432,2183,76141.0 1,4362,4183,85437.3 - 3.8
Male1,3731,8883,26142.1 1,2792,0593,33838.3 - 3.8
Female17033050034.0 15735951630.4 - 3.6
Male age group           
<181429523759.9 1337120465.2 +5.3
18-246778001,47745.8 5908291,41941.6 - 4.3
25-445158541,36937.6 5121,0151,52733.5 - 4.1
45-643912216124.2 4413017425.3 +1.1
65 +017170.0 014140.0 0.0
Female age group           
<1819214047.5 11162740.7 - 6.8
18-245711617332.9 6212218433.7 +0.7
25-448116824932.5 7418926328.1 - 4.4
45-6412233534.3 10314124.4 - 9.9
65 +12333.3 0110.0 -33.3
All persons age group           
<1816111627758.1 1448723162.3 +4.2
18-247349161,65044.5 6529511,60340.7 - 3.8
25-445961,0221,61836.8 5861,2041,79032.7 - 4.1
45-645114519626.0 5416121525.1 - 0.9
65 +119205.0 015150.0 - 5.0
Probation type           
Community service4637421,20538.4 4861,0081,49432.5 - 5.9
Probation order1,0801,4762,55642.3 9501,4102,36040.3 - 2.0
Probation referral offence           
01 Homicide offences16714.3 0220.0 -14.3
02 Sexual offences5293414.7 4222615.4 +0.7
03 Attempts/Threats to Murder,      
     assaults, harassments and     
     related offences16927444338.1 14329143432.9 - 5.2
04 Dangerous or negligent acts6213419631.6 5916622526.2 - 5.4
 05 Kidnapping and related offences0110.0 101100.0 +100.0
06 Robbery, extortion and    
     hijacking offences31427342.5 24507432.4 -10.0
07 Burglary and related offences10310721049.0 11812123949.4 +0.3
 08 Theft and related offences32041573543.5 30442372741.8 - 1.7
 09 Fraud, deception and related    
      offences18304837.5 13536619.7 -17.8
10 Controlled drug offences21235556737.4 21038159135.5 - 1.9
11 Weapons and explosives offences586111948.7 527112342.3 - 6.5
12 Damage to property and    
     to the environment9711020746.9 8514022537.8 - 9.1
13 Public order and other social   
     code offences32941874744.0 29441370741.6 - 2.5
14 Road and traffic offences (NEC)7314722033.2 8620629229.5 - 3.7
15 Offences against Government, justice        
     procedures and organisation of crime578113841.3 426610838.9 - 2.4
16 Offences not elsewhere classified202100.0 0330.0 -100.0
      Not stated681442.9 110119.1 -33.8
1 See Background Notes.
Table 2 Re-offender numbers classified by probation referral offence and subsequent, 2009 cohort
   Subsequent re-offence  
   HomicideSexualAttempts/DangerousKidnappingRobbery, BurglaryTheftFraud, ControlledWeaponsDamagePublicOffences 
    offencesoffencesThreatsorandextortion andanddeception drug andtoorderagainst 
     to murder,negligentrelatedand relatedrelatedand offences explosivespropertyand Government, 
      assaults,actsoffenceshijacking  offences offencesrelated offencesand otherjustice 
     harassments  offences  offences  to thesocialprocedures 
     and         environmentcodeand 
     related         offencesOrganisation 
     offences          of CrimeTotal
Total re-offenders  2333116012712391511136556041391,436
Probation referral offence                 
 01 Homicide offences 000000000000000
 02 Sexual offences 000100000001114
 03 Attempts/Threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences               
 04 Dangerous or negligent acts001120034060421859
 05 Kidnapping and related offences000000000000011
 06 Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences0023000702007324
 07 Burglary and related offences01740116252538388118
 08 Theft and related offences0122000241044105108638304
 09 Fraud, deception and related offences0001010430002213
 10 Controlled drug offences0051702923237878020210
 11 Weapons and explosives offences01150206060224552
 12 Damage to property and to the environment               
 13 Public order and other social code offences               
 14 Road and traffic offences (NEC)00211025122102230886
 15 Offences against Government, justice procedures and organisation of crime               
 16 Offences not elsewhere classified000000000000000
 Not stated000000000000101
Table 3 Re-offender numbers classified by time period to first re-offence, sex, age group and probation type, 2009 cohort
  Time period to first re-offence   
  Less than 6 months6<12 12<18 18<24 24<36 30<36  Total
  number% number% number% number% number% number% number%
Total re-offenders33123.1 24817.3 25617.8 20814.5 20714.4 18613.0 1,436100.0
 Male29823.3 22317.4 23118.1 17914.0 18514.5 16312.7 1,279100.0
 Female3321.0 2515.9 2515.9 2918.5 2214.0 2314.6 157100.0
Male age group                    
 <18 years2921.8 1511.3 2921.8 2216.5 1813.5 2015.0 133100.0
 18-2414724.9 11118.8 10117.1 6911.7 8915.1 7312.4 590100.0
 25-4411322.1 8416.4 9418.4 8216.0 7314.3 6612.9 512100.0
 45-64920.5 1329.5 715.9 613.6 511.4 49.1 44100.0
 65 +00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0
Female age group                    
 <18 years00.0 00.0 545.5 218.2 218.2 218.2 11100.0
 18-241422.6 1117.7 58.1 1524.2 812.9 914.5 62100.0
 25-441824.3 1114.9 1216.2 1013.5 1114.9 1216.2 74100.0
 45-64110.0 330.0 330.0 220.0 110.0 00.0 10100.0
 65 +00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0
All persons age group                    
 <18 years2920.1 1510.4 3423.6 2416.7 2013.9 2215.3 144100.0
 18-2416124.7 12218.7 10616.3 8412.9 9714.9 8212.6 652100.0
 25-4413122.4 9516.2 10618.1 9215.7 8414.3 7813.3 586100.0
 45-641018.5 1629.6 1018.5 814.8 611.1 47.4 54100.0
 65 +00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0 00.0
Probation type                    
Community service11724.1 9519.5 8918.3 5210.7 6413.2 6914.2 486100.0
Probation order21422.5 15316.1 16717.6 15616.4 14315.1 11712.3 950100.0
Table 4 Re-offenders classified by age group and probation referral offence, 2009 cohort
Re-offended within three yearsRecidivism1 rate (%)
  Age group  Age group  
   <18  18-24 25-44 45-6465 +All <18  18-24 25-44 45-64 65 + All
   years       agesyears         ages
Total re-offenders 144 652 586 54 0 1,43662.3 40.8 32.8 25.1 0.0 37.4
Probation referral offence                       
 01 Homicide offences 0 0 0 0 0 0- 0.0 - 0.0 - 0.0
 02 Sexual offences 0 1 2 1 0 40.0 11.1 33.3 14.3 0.0 15.4
 03 Attempts/Threats to murder,                        
      assaults, harassments and related offences 19 82 39 3 0 14355.9 39.0 23.8 13.0 0.0 33.1
 04 Dangerous or negligent acts 3 20 32 4 0 59100.0 31.7 24.8 13.3 - 26.2
 05 Kidnapping and related offences 0 0 1 0 0 1- - 100.0 - - 100.0
 06 Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences 2 10 12 0 0 2450.0 32.3 31.6 0.0 - 32.4
 07 Burglary and related offences 20 48 47 3 0 11858.8 51.1 44.8 50.0 - 49.4
 08 Theft and related offences 37 110 139 18 0 30459.7 45.5 37.9 33.3 0.0 41.9
 09 Fraud, deception and related offences 1 4 5 3 0 1350.0 30.8 12.8 25.0 - 19.7
 10 Controlled drug offences 4 109 97 0 0 21080.0 39.6 31.9 0.0 - 35.6
 11 Weapons and explosives offences 3 30 15 4 0 5237.5 48.4 34.9 40.0 - 42.3
 12 Damage to property and to the environment 20 41 21 3 0 8571.4 36.6 27.6 37.5 - 37.9
 13 Public order and other social code offences 30 145 109 10 0 29466.7 43.4 37.3 30.3 0.0 41.7
 14 Road and traffic offences (NEC) 3 38 42 3 0 86100.0 32.8 27.3 17.6 - 29.7
 15 Offences against Government, justice                        
      procedures and organisation of crime 2 13 25 2 0 42100.0 38.2 38.5 28.6 - 38.9
 16 Offences not elsewhere classified 0 0 0 0 0 0- 0.0 0.0 - - 0.0
      Not stated 0 1 0 0 0 1- 33.3 0.0 - - 9.1
- Absolute Zero
1 See Background Notes.

Background Notes


This release provides figures for the re-offending rates of those placed on Probation Orders, and Community Service Orders in the year 2009, (the 2009 cohort). Comparisons with the figures for the 2008 cohort are also provided.  These figures were produced using a combination of Garda Síochána and Probation Service records, based on the Irish Crime Classification System (ICCS).  The majority of those under probation in relation to sex offences are not included in this analysis.  Likewise, when considering re-offending, certain road traffic offences are also excluded.

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. 

Data collection

The production of these statistics involved the combination of Garda PULSE and Probation CTS (Case Tracking System) data.  Since there is no direct link between the two systems, a statistical matching protocol was devised by the CSO to match Probation and Garda records.  For this report, Probation and Community Service Orders from 2009 were linked from Probation CTS 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 commencing probation; and who is convicted in court proceedings that commenced within two years of the offence date.  For example, if a person was placed on a Probation or Community Service Order on December 31st 2009, and committed an offence on the December 31st 2012, they would be considered as having re-offended if court proceedings leading to a conviction commenced within a two year period. 

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.  T he 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. 

Probation type

This report considers two types of probation:  Probation Orders and Community Service Orders.  These represent the vast majority of individuals under Probation Service supervision.  However, certain categories are not included, most notably sex offender orders. 

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 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 2008 if it was first reported in that year. 

Crime Classification

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
01 Homicide offences Murder
    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 
      impaired person
    Aggravated sexual assault
    Sexual assault 
    Child pornography offences
    Child pornography – obstruction of warrant
    Gross indecency
03 Attempts or threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences Murder-attempt
  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
04  Dangerous or  Dangerous driving causing serious bodily
  negligent acts  harm
    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
    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)
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 
     (not firearms)
    Fireworks offences (for sale, igniting etc.)
12 Damage to property and to the environment Arson
  Criminal damage (not arson)
  Litter offences
13 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 
    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
     (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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