Sunday 26 February 2017

Seven in 10 burglars struck again after release from jail

Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Overall, most offenders committed crimes in a different category to the one they had initially been jailed for, with just one in five convicted of the same type of crime a second time. Stock Image
Overall, most offenders committed crimes in a different category to the one they had initially been jailed for, with just one in five convicted of the same type of crime a second time. Stock Image

Almost half of offenders released from prison in 2010 went on to commit further crimes in the next three years, new data shows.

The issue of repeat offending was most acute among those imprisoned for burglary.

Almost seven out of every 10 burglars released that year committed a further criminal offence after their release.

Overall, most offenders committed crimes in a different category to the one they had initially been jailed for, with just one in five convicted of the same type of crime a second time.

But criminals jailed for robbery, burglary or theft offences were much more likely to commit further crimes in the same categories, the figures showed.

Of 756 robbers, burglars and thieves released in 2010, 342 committed one or other of those offences again within three years of being set free.

The data, compiled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), was published just over a month after Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald announced plans to cut down on recidivism by offering education and employment programmes to repeat offenders.

The scale of the recidivism problem is laid bare by the CSO figures, which matched prisoners released in 2010 to crime incident and court outcomes up to the end of 2015.

The CSO found 45pc of the 9,339 prisoners released in 2010 reoffended within three years.

This is slightly down on figures for those released in 2009.

Men were more likely to reoffend than women, the data showed.

Young offenders were twice as likely to reoffend compared to older criminals.

The highest rate of recidivism was among prisoners whose initial jail sentences were for robbery, extortion, burglary or theft.

Of the 4,208 people who were found to have reoffended, 60pc did so within six months of their official release date.

An additional 16pc reoffended within a year.

The time taken to reoffend was shorter among younger offenders.

In the under-21 age category, the reoffending rate was almost 50pc.

Of those who did reoffend, 94pc had done so within a year.

The CSO also examined rates of reoffending among people given probation or community service orders in 2010.

It found almost 38pc of the 3,860 people given such orders that year went on to reoffend.

Almost half of those who reoffended did so within a year.

Of the 1,446 reoffenders from the 2010 cohort, 639, or 44pc, committed a subsequent public order or social code offence.

A further 227, or just under 16pc, committed theft or a related offence.

Under a plan announced by Ms Fitzgerald in September, the most prolific criminals are to be targeted in a joint approach by An Garda Síochána, the Prison Service and the Probation Service.

The Tánaiste said that while she believed prison was "the right place for serious and serial offenders", it made sense to target identified prolific offenders with joint agency initiatives "to address criminal behaviour and the harm it does" and "break the cycle of offending".

Irish Independent

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