Minister Flanagan welcomes downward trend in recidivism rates


9.3% reduction in recidivism rates after 3 years amongst those released from prison in 2012 compared to 2007


24 September 2019


The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has welcomed the overall downward trend in recidivism rates highlighted in today’s latest publication of the Central Statistics Office Recidivism Studies. The studies report on Prison Recidivism amongst those who were released from a custodial prison sentence in 2011 and 2012 and who were subsequently convicted of committing a further offence within 3 years of release.


Minister Flanagan said: “I very much welcome the overall downward trend in recidivism levels for those released from prison in recent years compared to those released in 2007. It is worth noting that the figures reported today relate to 2011 and 2012 and pre-date many of the enhanced prisoner programmes introduced by the Irish Prison Service in recent years. I am confident that the joint initiatives which have since been introduced - including the Community Return and Community Support Schemes and the Joint Agency Response to Crime - will result in further reductions in recidivism levels in future studies”


The CSO Prison Recidivism Study analysed recidivism among over 10,000 offenders released by the Irish Prison Service on completion of a custodial sentence in both 2011 and 2012, and are based on reoffending and reconviction data up to the end of 2014 and 2015.


The study’s findings indicate that prison recidivism is on a downward trend since 2007 with the 2012 recidivism rate standing at 45.8%, a decrease of 9.3% over the 5-year period. While it is worth noting that there was an increase in recidivism rates from the 2010 to 2011 cohorts, this was followed by 3.1% decrease from 2011 to 2012.


The report found that males made up most of the total population assessed and had a higher recidivism rate than females (50.2% & 47.6% for males and 40.2% & 36.0% among females). Re-offending among younger offenders continues to be the highest rate, with reoffending rates decreasing though the age brackets.


While recidivism rates were high in a number of offence groups including related to robbery, burglary and theft, the Minister noted that these are areas which have been particularly targeted in recent years through initiatives such as the Joint Agency Response to Crime (JARC) and the introduction of legislation to target repeat burglary offenders. JARC, which was officially launched in November 2015 and won a Civil Service Excellence Award in 2018, aims to develop and strengthen a multi-agency approach to the management of prolific offenders, prioritise such offenders for targeted interventions and supports to address their behaviour and through this work reduce crime and victimisation in local communities. Independent evaluations were completed on each of the three pilot JARC programmes in 2018 which found that all the indications were that the pilot programmes had helped reduce both the frequency and severity of reoffending among their clients groups and indeed have helped many clients to move away from criminality altogether.


The Minister added: “The Government is determined that there will be no let up on the pressure which the Gardaí are bringing to bear on those engaged in burglary and robbery. Underpinning the strong policing action being taken against burglars and criminal gangs is my commitment and the Government’s commitment to continue the ongoing Garda recruitment programme. Community policing is also a key priority of the new Garda Operating Model announced by the Garda Commissioner and is central to A Policing Service for the Future, the Government’s plan for implementing the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.”


The Minister commended the work of the Central Statistics Office in facilitating the undertaking the studies which provided the Department of Justice and Equality and the Irish Prison service with a very valuable data bank to assist in the development of policy initiatives going forward.


Please see a link to the report here