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E-mail: Sam Scriven (+353) 21 453 5276
For general information on CSO statistics: (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-7077
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Probation Recidivism

2010 cohort

Offender numbers classified by whether there was a re-offence within three years, 2010 cohort
  Re-offence within three yearsRecidivism1 rate
Total offenders1,4462,4143,86037.5
All persons age group    
65 +0880.0
Probation type    
Community service Order6391,2461,88533.9
Probation Order8071,1681,97540.9
1 See Background Notes.

38% of offenders referred to Probation Service in 2010 reoffended within three years

Probation recidivism rate by age and sex, 2010 cohort
go to full release

This release examines reoffending behaviour of adult and young offenders who were given Probation Orders and Community Service Orders in 2010, based on crime incident and court conviction data up to the end of 2015. 

The rate of reoffending, or recidivism, for offenders referred in 2010 was 37.5%, up 0.2% on findings from the 2009 cohort. The rate of recidivism was higher for males (38.5%) than for females (30.1%), and decreased with increasing age from 62.3% for those aged under 18 on the date of their referral to the Probation Service, to 24.1% for those aged between 45 and 64. The rate of recidivism was higher for those on Probation Orders (40.9%) than for those on Community Service Orders (33.9%). See Table 1. 

For the purposes of the release recidivism is defined as an offender committing a further criminal offence (a ‘re-offence’) within a period of three years after their referral to the Probation Service and being subsequently convicted of that offence. The CSO used a matching process to match individuals referred to Probation in 2010 to crime incident and court outcome datasets in order to identify re-offences and re-convictions. Further detail regarding the methods used to measure recidivism in this release is provided in the Background Notes.

The CSO resumed publication of Recorded Crime statistics in June 2015, following a comprehensive review of the quality of Garda Síochana crime data and on foot of the Garda Inspectorate report on Crime Investigation (11th November 2014). The latest CSO review on the quality of PULSE data was published on 28th September 2016 (link below). When interpreting Recorded Crime statistics (including recidivism) the CSO advises that the findings of these reviews should be taken into account.

Recidivism higher among younger offenders 

The overall rate of recidivism measured among 2010 Probation referrals was 37.5% and showed little change (up 0.2%) from the 2009 cohort. Reoffending decreased marginally among females (from 30.4% to 30.1%, down 0.3%) and increased marginally among males (38.3% to 38.5%, up 0.2%). Males comprised a higher proportion of the cohort in 2010 than in the previous year. 

Recidivism was highest among younger offenders (62.3% for under 18s) and gradually decreased with increasing age. A rate of 24.1% was measured for offenders aged 45 to 64 at the time of the referral to Probation. This trend was observed in both the male and female cohorts. The highest rate of recidivism by age-sex group was among males aged under 18 (63.2%) and the lowest rate was among males in the 45-64 age group (21.6%). 

There was greater number of Community Service Orders relative to Probation Orders in 2010 compared with the previous year. Community Service Order referrals made up 38.8% of the total in 2009 but this increased to 48.8% in 2010.  Recidivism among offenders on Community Service Orders (33.9% in 2010) was less than for those on Probation Orders (40.9%). Reoffending rates for both Probation types increased slightly relative to the previous release. 

Most re-offences classified as theft or public order offences

Of the 1,446 reoffenders from the 2010 cohort, 639 or 44.2% committed a first subsequent re-offence in the category of Group 13 Public Order and Other Social Code Offences, while 227 of first subsequent re-offences (15.7%) were in Group 08 Theft and Related Offences, see table 2. 

Of those who did reoffend the subsequent crime fell within the same ICCS group as the initial referral offence in 344 cases (23.8%). 

Almost half of those who reoffend do so within 12 months of referral 

Of those who did reoffend within a three year period almost half (47.0%) did so within the first year of their referral to the Service. 26.3% of offenders committed a first re-offence within six months of their referral and a further 20.7% between six months and one year. 

Table 1 Offender numbers classified by sex, age group, probation type, probation referral offence and whether there was a re-offence within three years, 2009 and 2010 cohort
2009 cohort 2010 cohort  
Re-offence withinRecidivism1 Re-offence withinRecidivism Recidivism
three yearsrate three yearsrate rate
YesNoTotal% YesNoTotal% change
Total offenders1,4362,4183,85437.3 1,4462,4143,86037.5 +0.2
Male1,2792,0593,33838.3 1,3032,0823,38538.5 +0.2
Female15735951630.4 14333247530.1 - 0.3
Male age group           
<181337120465.2 915314463.2 - 2.0
18-245908291,41941.6 6648421,50644.1 +2.5
25-445121,0151,52733.5 5071,0311,53833.0 - 0.6
45-644413017425.3 4114919021.6 - 3.7
65 +014140.0 0770.0 0.0
Female age group           
<1811162740.7 1081855.6 +14.8
18-246212218433.7 5912318232.4 - 1.3
25-447418926328.1 6117924025.4 - 2.7
45-6410314124.4 13213438.2 +13.8
65 +0110.0 0110.0 0.0
All persons age group           
<181448723162.3 1016116262.3 +0.0
18-246529511,60340.7 7239651,68842.8 +2.2
25-445861,2041,79032.7 5681,2101,77831.9 - 0.8
45-645416121525.1 5417022424.1 - 1.0
65 +015150.0 0880.0 0.0
Probation type           
Community service4861,0081,49432.5 6391,2461,88533.9 +1.4
Probation order9501,4102,36040.3 8071,1681,97540.9 +0.6
Probation referral offence           
01 Homicide offences0220.0 0330.0 0.0
02 Sexual offences4222615.4 229316.5 - 8.9
03 Attempts/Threats to Murder,      
     assaults, harassments and     
     related offences14329143432.9 16929946836.1 +3.2
04 Dangerous or negligent acts5916622526.2 7816824631.7 +5.5
 05 Kidnapping and related offences101100.0 0110.0 -100.0
06 Robbery, extortion and    
     hijacking offences24507432.4 30447440.5 +8.1
07 Burglary and related offences11812123949.4 11914226145.6 - 3.8
 08 Theft and related offences30442372741.8 25735160842.3 +0.5
 09 Fraud, deception and related    
      offences13536619.7 10607014.3 - 5.4
10 Controlled drug offences21038159135.5 21538359836.0 +0.4
11 Weapons and explosives offences527112342.3 25608529.4 - 12.9
12 Damage to property and    
     to the environment8514022537.8 12816128944.3 +6.5
13 Public order and other social   
     code offences29441370741.6 25842167938.0 - 3.6
14 Road and traffic offences (NEC)8620629229.5 10919930835.4 +5.9
15 Offences against Government,           
     justice procedures and organisation           
     of crime426610838.9 448012435.5 - 3.4
16 Offences not elsewhere classified0330.0 0330.0 0.0
      Not stated110119.1 2101216.7 +7.6
1 See Background Notes.
Table 2 Re-offender numbers classified by probation referral offence and subsequent re-offence, 2010 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 Crime Total
Total re-offenders 014511612556227111223246639125 1,446
Probation referral offence                  
 01 Homicide offences 00000000000000 0
 02 Sexual offences 00010000000010 2
 03 Attempts/Threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences 00111000217211478619 169
 04 Dangerous or negligent acts 00313002122712306 78
 05 Kidnapping and related offences00000000000000 0
 06 Robbery, extortion and hijacking offences000102270200124 30
 07 Burglary and related offences002602142100175610 119
 08 Theft and related offences00414069813135108725 257
 09 Fraud, deception and related offences00020103100021 10
 10 Controlled drug offences0072005626047737915 215
 11 Weapons and explosives offences001201010231104 25
 12 Damage to property and to the environment 004100251917185219 128
 13 Public order and other social code offences 001020127220136716010 258
 14 Road and traffic offences (NEC)013140271621831384 109
 15 Offences against Government, justice procedures and organisation of crime 000301220210267 44
 16 Offences not elsewhere classified00000000000000 0
 Not stated00000100000001 2
Table 3 Time period between probation referral and reoffence classified by sex, age group and probation type, 2010 cohort
  Reoffended Time period to first re-offence Did not reoffendTotal
   <6 months6<12 12<18 18<24  24<30  30<36     
Total re-offenders1,446 380 300 239 184 188 155 2,4143,860
 Male1,303 341 269 215 171 165 142 2,0823,385
 Female143 39 31 24 13 23 13 332475
Male age group                
 <18 years91 16 12 20 13 16 14 53144
 18-24664 176 147 97 87 82 75 8421,506
 25-44507 135 103 89 68 63 49 1,0311,538
 45-6441 14 7 9 3 4 4 149190
 65 +0 0 0 0 0 0 0 77
Female age group                
 <18 years10 1 2 3 1 2 1 818
 18-2459 17 16 10 4 6 6 123182
 25-4461 19 9 9 7 13 4 179240
 45-6413 2 4 2 1 2 2 2134
 65 +0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11
All persons age group                
 <18 years101 17 14 23 14 18 15 61162
 18-24723 193 163 107 91 88 81 9651,688
 25-44568 154 112 98 75 76 53 1,2101,778
 45-6454 16 11 11 4 6 6 170224
 65 +0 0 0 0 0 0 0 88
Probation type                
Community Service Order639189 131 109 76 69 65 1,2461,885
 Probation Order807 191 169 130 108 119 90 1,168 1,975

Background Notes


This release provides figures for the re-offending rates of those placed on Probation Orders, and Community Service Orders in the year 2010, (the 2010 cohort). Comparisons with the figures for the 2009 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 2010 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 2010, and committed an offence on the December 31st 2013, 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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