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Half of all prisoners 're-offend within three years'


Mountjoy Prison in Dublin

Mountjoy Prison in Dublin

Mountjoy Prison in Dublin

More than half of prisoners released from Irish jails go on to reoffend within three years, a report has shown.

The study, compiled using data from the Irish Prison Service and gardai, shows nearly 80pc of young people who enter the prison system under the age of 21 will re-offend within a three-year period.

However, re-offending rates have fallen over time, with 40pc of inmates released in 2017 re-offending within one year, compared with 46pc of those released in 2011.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) results show 55pc of male prisoners released in 2014 re-offended within three years, compared with 58pc of female prisoners.

The study notes 93pc of inmates were males.

CSO statistician Felix Coleman said younger inmates were "much more likely" to re-offend than older ones.

"In 2014, 55pc of prisoners released from custody were linked to a re-offending incident within three years of their release," he said.

"The data also indicates that younger age groups of released prisoners are much more likely to re-offend, with almost 80pc of released prisoners aged less than 21 at the time of entering prison re-offending within three years of release.

"In contrast, just 29.5pc of prisoners who were over 50 years old re-offended within three years of release.

"Re-offending rates are falling over time whether one looks at three-year or one-year windows for re-offending following release from custody.


"A little more than 40pc of prisoners released in 2017 re-offended within one year, compared to just over 46pc of prisoners released in 2011 who re-offended within one year of release."

Separately, the 2019 Probation Service report shows it dealt with 16,607 offenders in the community and 2,689 offenders in prison. There were also 2,791 Community Service Orders made last year compared with 2,499 in 2018.

This, the report said, totalled 379,815 hours work in lieu of 1,247 years in prison and equated to over €3.5m worth of unpaid work for the benefit of communities nationwide.