New research shows the average rate of reoffending among those given non-custodial penalties instead of prison fell from 49% for 2007 offenders to 41% for the 2008 group.
Researchers followed up on their criminal records three years on, in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
The report, conducted by the Central Statistics Office with the assistance of the Probation Service, shows the lowest levels of recidivism are among those convicted of homicide offences and sexual offences — and none of those reoffenders committed the same crime.
The figures show a substantial drop in recidivism for most crimes, including:
* 61% of public order offenders in 2008 reoffended, compared to 44% of the 2007 group;
* 49% of burglars in 2008 reoffended, compared to 62% of the 2007 group;
* 43.5% of thieves in 2008 reoffended, compared to 51% of the 2007 cohort;
* 14% of homicide offenders in 2008 reoffended, compared to 33% in 2007;
* 15% of sexual offenders in 2008 reoffended, compared to 22% in 2007;
Some crimes only experienced small decreases, such as weapons offences, robbery, and assaults. Fraud was the only category where recidivism rates increased, from 28% to 37%.
The CSO analysis shows young offenders had a higher rate of recidivism — 58% of those under 18 and 44.5% of those aged 18-24, compared to 26% of those aged 45-64.
Rates are higher among men (42%) than women (34%).
“I consider a 41% recidivism rate to be too high,” said Justice Minister Alan Shatter. “This report is an indicator of how things stood in 2008 and it is my view that the probation recidivism rate can, and should, be lower. It is my hope that the changes I have introduced with regard to the Community Service Scheme will be measured in future studies by even lower recidivism rates.”
A breakdown of the subsequent offences show:
* 44% of the 1,543 reoffenders in 2008 went on to commit public order offences, followed by thefts (17%), drug offences (10%) and dangerous acts, including driving offences, (7%);
* 67% of those convicted of public order offences committed a further public order offence;
* 34% of those given probation for burglary went on to commit another property crime (23% theft and 11% burglary), while 33% carried out a public order offence;
* 38% of those convicted of theft subsequently committed a property crime (30% theft, 6% burglary, and 2% robbery) and another 38% engaged in public disorder;
* 24% of those convicted for drug offences went on to carry out another drug offence, while 30% committed a public disorder offence;
* 50% of those convicted of weapons offences committed a public order offence. Only 3% carried out another weapons offence;
* No sex offenders carried out another sex crime.
* See cso.ie for more.