Belfast Telegraph

Over a third of people re-offend after being released from prison

By Victoria Leonard

A third of young offenders and an even higher proportion of adults in Northern Ireland go on to re-offend within a year of being released from custody, it has emerged.

The figures, which relate to 2014/15, show that across all age groups, 620 (38.2%) of the 1,622 people released from custody went on to commit a further crime within 12 months of release.

According to a newly-released Department of Justice report the highest re-offending rates were found among those who had committed burglary followed by criminal damage.

The report also details the re-offending rate amongst those who received non-custodial and diversionary sentences.

Some 759 (35.2%) of those who received a community disposal, requiring supervision from the courts, re-offended within a year, compared with 2,780 (17.4%) of those who did not require supervision and 954 (16.7%) of those who received a diversionary disposal.

When all the age groups and sentence types were taken into account, 4,221 (17.9%) of the 23,627 people re-offended during the one-year observational period.

Just under half (43.6%) committed their first re-offence within the first three months.

Generally, re-offending rates increased with the number of previous offences.

Overall, 11.9% of all females and 19.3% of all males re-offended. Of the 22,064 adult offenders aged 18 and over, 3,718 (16.9%) committed an offence within a year of either being released from custody, receiving a non-custodial sentence at court or receiving a diversionary disposal.

Overall, 10.7% of adult females and 18.4% of adult males re-offended. Of the 1,563 young offenders aged 17 and under, 503 (32.2%) committed another offence within a year of either being released from custody, or receiving a non-custodial or diversionary disposal.

The highest youth re-offending rates were amongst those who had committed criminal damage (37.7%), followed by violence against the person (34.3%).

Almost half (46.9%) of the 503 who re-offended committed their first re-offence within the first three months. Twenty-eight of the 39 youths released from custody committed a proven re-offence. Overall, 28.5% of young females and 33.1% of young males re-offended.

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