Information provided by National Administrations (regularly updated)
1. Kriminalforsorgen: Recidivstatistik 2006-2008 (2011). (Department of Prisons and Probation: Relapse in the the Prison and Probation Service 2006-2008): Yearly statistics on relapse rates within the Prison and Probation Service. Relapse is defined as a new prison sentence or community sanction that became legally binding within two years of release from prison or from commencement of the community sanction in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
2. Ragnar Kristoffersen et al. (2010). “Retur” (Relapse study in the correctional services of the Nordic countries: The Nordic relapse study “Retur. En nordisk undersøgelse af recidiv blandt klienter i kriminal-forsorgen” published May 2010 is a product of a yearlong collaboration between a group of researchers and statisticians from the correctional services in the Nordic countries.
- Reoffending figures are reported based on a common definition of re-offending, equally long observation period and a shared classification of offender groups, i.e. the correctional clientele in the Nordic countries divided into five offender groups: Prisoners, community service, conditional sentence with supervision, conditional sentence with treatment and electronic monitoring. The latter four groups are for simplistic reasons lumped into one category labelled “probation”. The object of the study is to present and discuss re-offending rates among those released from prison sentences and those who started serving a community sanction in the probation services in 2005. Relapse is defined as a new prison sentence or community sanction that became legally binding within two years of release from prison or from commencement of the community sanction in 2005.
- The survey comprises a total of almost 60 000 offenders in the Nordic countries. The study represents an important pioneering effort as there are no previous relapse studies that report and analyses re-offending in the correctional services in a Nordic comparative perspective. The study shows that Norway has the lowest overall re-offending rate among correctional clients in the Nordic countries.
- Within two years a fifth of all released from prison and among those who began serving a sentence in the community in Norway incurred a new conviction that had to be served in the correctional services. In the other Nordic countries the overall re-offending rate varies from 24 % to 31 %. The authors emphasize that the results cannot be used to predict the effects of various measures delivered to the offenders while serving their sentences, but on the other hand it cannot be ruled out that such national differences may have contributed to the overall re-offending rates, though the effect is probably marginal compared to the effect on recidivism caused by national differences in the distribution of offender groups with dissimilar risk profiles. The authors also point out that other external factors undoubtedly may have contributed to the differences in re-offending rates between the Nordic countries, such as clear up rates for criminal cases and the capacity to deal with them in the police and the courts, as well as changes in the lives of the offenders.
3. Andersen, Signe Hald (2012). “Serving time or serving the community? Exploiting a policy reform to assess the causal effects of community service on income, social benefit dependency and recidivism”. University Press of Southern Denmark.
Abstract: There is a widespread belief among criminologists, judges and the like that criminals are better off serving non-custodial sentences instead of going to prison. However, empirical evidence of the effects of community service is scarce. This paper exploits a policy reform that implemented the use of community service as punishment among specific groups of criminals, Danish administrative data, and difference-in difference matching in order to assess the causal effect of community service on post-sentence income, dependency on social benefits, and crime. The results show that community service participants have higher long-run income levels and lower long-run levels of social benefit dependency compared to offenders who serve custodial sentences. However, while community service lowers recidivism among offenders convicted of violent crime and misdemeanour, there are no overall effects of community service on crime committed after the serving of a sentence. (link)
4. Clausen, Susanne (2007). “Samfundstjeneste – virker det?”. Jurist- og Økonomforbundets forlag (“Community Service – does it work?”)
5. Clausen, Susanne (2009). “Recidivundersøgelse vedrørende personer dømt for sædelighedskriminalitet”. Direktoratet for Kriminalforsorgen. (“A study of recidivism among persons convicted of a sexual crime”. Danish Prisons and Probation Service) (link)
6. Graunbøl, Hans et al. (2010). “Retur. En nordisk undersøgelse af recidiv blandt klienter i Kriminalforsorgen”. Kriminalforsorgen i Danmark, Finland, Island, Norge og Sverige. (“Return. A Nordic study of recidivism among clients in prison and probation service”) (link)
7. Jørgensen, Tanja Tambour (2011). “Afsoning i hjemmet. En effektevaluering af fodlænkeordningen”. Justitsministeriets Forskningskontor (“Imprisonment at home. An evaluation of the effect of electronic monitoring”) (link)
8. Klement, Christian (2011). “Samfundstjeneste. En effektevaluering”. Justitsministeriets Forskningskontor (“Community Service. An evaluation of the effects”) (link)
Report on 2010 study: Recidivism in Estonia (link)
Hypén Kimmo (2004), Vankilasta vuosina 1993-2001 vapautuneet ja vankilaan uudestaan palanneet. Vammala: Rikosseuraamusvirasto. (The released from prison in Finland 1993-2001 and the re-entered. Vammala: Criminal Sanctions Agency).
Abstract: Definition: The author uses the re-imprisonment as an indicator of recidivism. Methodology: The total data collected from the central prisoner register include 30 000 separate persons and their 100 000 prison terms. Foreigners and the dead during the follow-up time have been taken into account when calculating the share of the recidivists. Results: Over a half of all the released returned to prison during five years after release. The majority of those for the first time in prison did not return in prison. 80-90 percent of the young offenders returned to prison at least once. Men re-offend more often than women. Persons sentenced for homicides and sexual offences re-offend more rarely than others. One in four of those returned to prison did not commit a new cirime after release. Under 10 out of 100 of the first-timers ended up in prison vortex and they are the most socially excluded part of the Finnish adult population. Summary of the report can be found here.
“Mesurer la récidive. Contribution à la conférence de consensus de prévention de la récidive” (link)
Jörg-Martin Jehle, Hans-Jörg Albrecht, Sabine Hohmann-Fricke und Carina Tetal: Legalbewährung nach strafrechtlichen Sanktionen. Eine bundesweite Rückfalluntersuchung 2004 bis 2007, Berlin: Bundesministerium der Justiz (2010) Criminal Sanction and Recidivism. A nation wide study on recidivism from 2004 to 2007.
Abstract: The aim of the study is to try and examine the success rate of the German criminal justice system as concerns criminal relapses and reconvictions. The first wave of the study was comprised of all individuals who had either received a non-custodial sentence (fine, probation, conviction or other corrective measures based on criminal law concerning young offenders) during 2004 or who had been released from a custodial sentence during that year (custodial sentence, youth custody, remainder of a custodial sentence in the case of a revoked probation, placement in a psychiatric hospital, detoxification clinic or preventive detention). These individuals where monitored over a three year period to determine whether they subsequently appeared again in the Federal Register of Judicial Convictions. Based on this data, a comprehensive overview on recidivism dependent on type of sanction, type of offence, previous convictions, age and gender of the convicted person was obtained. The project is conducted in cooperation with the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice at the University of Göttingen and has been commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Justice.
The study concerning the base year 2004 laid the foundation for a periodical recidivism study. It is planed that criminal records will be collected every three years and will be merged with the existing database (link).
Latest version of the study “Legalbewährung” will cover the years 2004 to 2010. This publication will be available in July 2013.
“Retur” – Relapse study in the correctional services of the Nordic countries, group of researchers and statisticians from the correctional services in the Nordic countries, May 2010
Prisoners, community service, conditional sentence with supervision, conditional sentence with treatment and electronic monitoring. The object of the study is to present and discuss re-offending rates among those released from prison sentences and those who started serving a community sanction in the probation services in 2005. Relapse is defined as a new prison sentence or community sanction that became legally binding within two years of release from prison or from commencement of the community sanction in 2005. The survey comprises a total of almost 60 000 offenders in the Nordic countries. (link1; link2)
The Irish Prison Service facilitated a major study of prisoner re-offending by the UCD Institute of Criminology and the findings were published in May 2008. The study found that after 4 years over 50% of prisoners released had not re-offended. The rate is in the mid to lower range of recidivism rates when compared to similar countries internationally.
The Irish Prison Service & Central Statistics Office Recidivism Study 2013 was published on the 30th May 2013. The report is available on the website: www.irishprisons.ie
Abstracts of articles on Recidivism (The full articles (in Italian) can be found at the following address: www.rassegnapenitenziaria.it)
1. L. Baccaro, G. Mosconi, The Circle of Damned Souls, in Rassegna Penitenziaria e Criminologica, 2004, vol. 2, pages 212-237
Abstract: This article sets out the main results of a survey carried out in 2003 among the prisoners held in the Padova prison; the object of said survey were the reasons for recidivism, by reconstructing, on the one hand, the objective conditions characterising the status of former prisoner; on the other hand, the subjective experiences of the offenders and, in general, of their imprisonment experience. Eighty-five questionnaires were administered to prisoners with previous detention experiences, gathered in a sample stratified for different variables (age, origin, type of crime).
Consistently with the starting hypothesis, the problems arisen concern: the offenders’ arrival and their reception in prison, the social networks, employment, relations with family, the offenders’ know-how, their economic resources; their life experiences and the subjective images.
Beyond the objective difficulties arisen concerning various aspects, easily predictable, our survey highlighted, on the one hand, the poor prisoners’ awareness of those difficulties, as if the deprivations imposed by their detention experience inspired distorting idealizations and projections, with respect to a possible fruitful sense of reality; on the other hand, the survey showed a series of inconsistencies and simplifications, which, in turn, alter the reference framework of prisoners, with easily predictable effects. The prisoners really seem to live “nowhere” and out of time, in a place where the rules are different and everything is so possible as to become impossible. The sharp suspension of time in prison is evident, since prison is considered as a space where a different self is living; moreover, detention is felt as a situation which is not a consequence of offender’s behaviour and choices. Imprisonment is not felt as a time of justice, it is not a time for justice at the subjects’ disposal, it is not a time to be lived. This one seems to be the core of their recidivism experience, inspired by the same meaning of punishment.
2. F. Leonardi, The measures alternative to detention between social reinsertion and the knocking down of recidivism, in Rassegna Penitenziaria e Criminologica, 2007, vol. 2, pages 7-26
Abstract: Between 1975 and 2005, in Italy the percentage of convicted persons who served their sentences out of prisons grew up, but imprisonment is commonly considered as the best solution to limit the criminality rate.
The recidivism rate has been chosen as a parameter to assess the efficiency of the measures alternative to detention. A case study was carried out, through a quantitative longitudinal research, among those who ended their assignment to the probation service in 1998, verifying whether they perpetrated new crimes until 2005. The result was that only 19% of those who were assigned to the probation service re-offended in that period, while 68% of those who were in prison re-offended.
Therefore, the assignment to the probation service can be considered as a valid solution to solve the problems of prison overcrowding, while guaranteeing, at the same time, good results in terms of offenders’ social reinsertion.
3. F. Leonardi, Drug-addiction and measures alternatives to detention: the recidivism risk among the persons assigned to the probation service, in Rassegna Penitenziaria e Criminologica, 2009, vol. 1, pages 5-30
Abstract: Assuming that drug-addiction may affect people’s criminal behaviours, the addiction to alcohol or to drugs was surveyed for a sample of persons assigned to the probation service who ended that measure alternative to detention in 1998. For all of them, the recidivism rate was calculated by ascertaining the perpetration of further crimes until 2005. The result was compared with the result of convicted people who were granted the assignment to the probation service in special cases, a measure dedicated to drug-addicts and alcohol-addicts who accept to undergo a therapeutic rehabilitation programme.
The recidivism rate found among drug-addicts is the same, whether when they are granted the normal measure of assignment to the probation service or when they undergo the measure of assignment in special cases (31%) and that rate is higher than the recidivism rate of those ones who do not show any addiction status (16%), thus confirming that addiction is one of the reasons for a higher inclination to offend.
4. L. Brunori, C, Raggi (edited by), Never Again – recidivism and responsibility starting from the group. Project Hippokrates. Department of Penitentiary Administration, Ministry of Justice of Italy and Bologna University – Department of Psychology, 2004, pp. 200. (link)
Abstract: Project Hippokrates was funded by the European Social funds as an initiative for exchanges, research and training aimed at crime prevention throughout Europe. Its main aim was the research on recidivism, carried out by the instrument of the group-analysis.
Every year, recidivism in the Netherlands is monitored by the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) of the Ministry of Security and Justice. For this purpose the Dutch Recidivism Monitor is developed. English version of the fact-sheet for 2011 can be found here
a) The new factsheet (2012) is only available in Dutch and can be found here. A brochure that explains how the Dutch Recidivism Monitor works is available here. The English version of the WODC-website: http://english.wodc.nl/
b) Since the 70s a lot of studies (150 to 200) on recidivism have been carried out to look at the effectiveness of judiciary interventions (effect evaluations). Most of the time these are small-scale studies which have not led to a lot of general knowledge on the enforcement of sanctions and measures in the Netherlands. This study from the WODC can be seen as a systematic summary of the results of several studies, that might give more general knowledge. The publication can be found here. On the webpage can also be found the English summary as a separate document.
Graunbøl et. al. (2010). “Return. A Nordic relapse study among correctional clients”
The Nordic relapse study “Retur. En nordisk undersøgelse af recidiv blandt klienter i kriminalforsorgen” published in May 2010 is based on a common definition of reoffending, equally long observation period and a shared classification of offender groups, i.e. the correctional clientele in the Nordic countries divided into five offender groups: Prisoners, community service, conditional sentence with supervision, conditional sentence with treatment and electronic monitoring. The latter four groups are for simplistic reasons lumped into one category labeled “probation”. The object of the study is to present and discuss reoffending rates among those released from prison sentences and those who started serving a community sanction in the probation services in 2005. Relapse is defined as a new prison sentence or community sanction that became legally binding within two years of release from prison or from commencement of the community sanction in 2005. The survey comprises a total of almost 60 000 offenders in the Nordic countries. The study shows that Norway has the lowest overall reoffending rate among correctional clients in the Nordic countries, 20 %. In the other Nordic countries the overall reoffending rate varies from 24 % to 31 %. The report is written in Danish and Norwegian and can be downloaded here.
1. Redondo, S; Funes, J; Luque, M. E (1992), Justícia penal i reincidència. Anàlisi de la població de penats excarcerats a Catalunya. Barcelona: Centre of Legal Studies, CEJFE.
Penal justice and recidivism. Analysis of the inmate population of Catalonia. Long-term follow-up study of a sampling of persons imprisoned in 1987. The penal and penitentiary variables studied are associated with readmission and other personal variables (link).
2. Luque,M.E; Ferrer, M; Capdevila. M (2004), La reincidència penitenciària a Catalunya. Barcelona: Centre of Legal Studies, CEJFE.
Reconviction in Catalonia. This paper updates the rate of reconviction in Catalonia, presented at a paper of 10 years ago (Redondo, Funes, Luque, 1993) and it analyses the personal, penal and penitentiary variables of the population from 1997 released, based on an average of 5 years for knowing if he was reconvicted again. It offers a profile of the person relapsing and like an aspect newest of the research, it shows a predictive model of the reconviction, based on the most current studies about the models of formality of the risk (link)
3. Capdevila, M. Ferrer, M (2009), Taxa de reincidència penitenciària 2008. Barcelona, Centre of Legal Studies, CEJFE
Recidivism rate of prison 2008. The study updates the data from two previous investigations conducted on the same topic. In this study people were released in 2002, which is tracking them until December 31, 2007 to find out if they returned to the prison system for a new crime committed after the date of its release. The investigation conducted various tests to be allowed to describe the relationships between the variables and recidivism (link).
4. Cid, J. Martí, J. (2011), El procés de desistiment de les persones empresonades. Obstacles i suports. Barcelona, Centre of Legal Studies, CEJFE
Giving up the crime: the process followed by prisoners and their obstacles and supports. In this research a group of male inmates were interviewed some weeks before the end of their custodial sentence in order to analyze their narratives of abandon / persistence in criminal activity. The inmates were serving a prison sentence for property crimes and / or drug offences (link).
UK: England and Wales
Proven re-offending quarterly – July 2010 to June 2011 (link)
This report provides key statistics on proven re-offending in England and Wales. It gives proven re-offending figures for offenders who were released from custody, received a non-custodial conviction at court, received a caution, reprimand, warning or tested positive for opiates or cocaine between July 2010 and June 2011. Proven re-offending is defined as any offence committed in a one year follow-up period and receiving a court conviction, caution, reprimand or warning in the one year follow-up. Following this one year period, a further six month waiting period is allowed for cases to progress through the courts.