By Sarah Ruane and Sinead Farrelly
Forty five per cent of people released from prison reoffend within the first three years, according to figures released this week by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The CSO used a matching process to match prisoners released in 2010 to crime incident and court outcome data sets, in order to identify re-offences and re-convictions.
These figures show a small decline of 2.4% in recidivism from 47.5% in 2009. Male reoffending fell from 48.2% to 46.0%, while the rate for females fell from 41.2% to 37.8%.
Of the 4,208 individuals who were found to have re-offended, 60.8% offended had done so within six months of their official release date and an additional 16.7% within one year.
Most re-offenders were convicted for offences which fell into a different crime group than their initial imprisonment offence. The other 21.9% were convicted for offences of the same crime type. Individuals who had been imprisoned for burglary and related offences showed the highest rate of recidivism (68.6%).
The rate of re-offending among prisoners in younger age groups decreased compared to the previous release (54.4% to 49.8%, down 4.6% among those under 21) while the rate among older prisoners increased (24.8% to 29.4%, up 4.6% among those aged 51 and over).
This characteristic was observed in both male and female prisoners. The contrast was particularly apparent among female offenders where re-offending among under 21s fell nearly 13% while recidivism for those aged 51 and over rose almost 9%.