More than 40% of offenders who are on probation re-offend within three years, latest official figures show.
Younger men are much more likely to get in trouble again, with almost 60% of those under 18 going on to re-offend.
However, the rate of re-offending is decreasing, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) report.
The latest available figures, compiled from Probation Service and Garda records, are for 2008.
Of the 3,761 offenders given probation or community service orders that year, 1,543 – or 41% – went on to offend again within the following three years.
Men were more likely than women to re-offend, and the younger were much more likely to offend again than the older.
But the overall rates of reoffending dropped between 2007 and 2008, from almost 49% to 41%.
Of those placed on community service orders, just over 38% re-offended within three years, compared to more than 42% on probation orders.