Adult and Youth Reoffending in Northern Ireland (Cohort 2016/17)

Date published: 14 November 2019

The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published Research and Statistics Bulletin,
‘Adult and Youth Reoffending In Northern Ireland (2016/17 Cohort)’

This annual Official Statistics publication provides information on the one year proven reoffending rate for offenders who received a non-custodial disposal at court, a diversionary disposal or who were released from custody during 2016/17 within Northern Ireland.  Information is presented in relation to the full cohort and also disaggregated in relation to adults (those aged 18 and over) and youths (those aged 17 and under). The main findings of this report are presented below.

Adult and Youth Reoffending in Northern Ireland (2016/17 Cohort)

  •  This annual bulletin provides information on the one year proven reoffending rate for offenders who received a non-custodial disposal at court, a diversionary disposal or who were released from custody during 2016/17 within Northern Ireland.  Information is presented in relation to the full cohort and also disaggregated in relation to adults (those aged 18 and over) and youths (those aged 17 and under).
  • Of the 21,493 people included in the 2016/17 cohort, 3,862 (18.0%) reoffended during the one year observational period (adults 17.3%, youths 28.7%). The overall reoffending rate is being used as an indicator for the Draft Programme for Government and the NICS Outcomes Delivery Plan.
  • Of the 3,862 who reoffended, over two-fifths (43.7%) committed their first reoffence within the first three months (adults 42.8%, youths 52.8%).
  • In terms of offending history, 61.3% of the 21,493 had committed previous offences, ranging from one to 590 distinct offences, (adults 62.8%, youths 35.6%).
  • Overall, 12.4% of females and 19.4% of males had reoffended (adult females 11.5% and adult males 18.7%, youth females 25.4% and youth males 29.7%).
       
  • The one year proven reoffending rate for;
    • custody releases was 42.8% (adults 42.0% and 24 of 33 youths).
  • court community disposal (supervision) was 33.7% (adults 31.1%, youths 58.6%).
  • court community disposal (no supervision) was 17.7% (adults 17.3%, youths 50.3%).
  • diversionary disposal was 15.1% (adults 12.8%, youths 24.5%).
     
  • The highest reoffending rates were found amongst those who had committed a baseline offence in the ‘Burglary’ category (42.4%), followed by ‘Robbery’ (40.7%).  This was the same for adults only, (‘Burglary’ 43.3% and ‘Robbery’ 42.3%). For youths, the highest reoffending rates were found amongst those who had committed a baseline offence in the ‘Criminal Damage’ category (43.1%), followed by ‘Public Order’ (33.0%) and ‘Drugs’ (32.5%).

Notes to editors: 

1.In 2013, the Department of Justice’s Analytical Services Group embarked on a project to revise the methodology used to calculate recidivism rates within Northern Ireland, bringing it more in line with established methodology in England and Wales. For a more detailed methodology, refer to ‘Northern Ireland Reoffending Methodology: Methodology and Glossary Part 1’. 

 

2. Any study of reoffending rates is prone to misunderstanding and misrepresentation if sufficient care is not taken to observe the caveats around each figure. For example, for both adult and youth cases, the reoffending rates are highest for those released from custody and lowest for those given a diversionary disposal. Inevitably what needs to be taken into account in the interpretation of these figures is, most obviously, (a) the seriousness of the offence which led to the disposal in the first place and (b) the previous criminal history of the individual as a factor in the original disposal, together with a range of other criminogenic, demographic and, indeed, administrative/procedural issues. What these figures do not mean is that diversionary disposals are, irrespective of other factors, necessarily a more efficient deterrent to reoffending.

3. A range of statistical controls and procedures are therefore required before comparisons can meaningfully be made across different reoffending rates. A second methodology paper therefore provides a discussion on how overall reoffending rates can be compared, ‘Northern Ireland Reoffending Methodology: Methodology and Glossary Part 2 (Revised August 2015)’. 

4. Official Statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.  They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs and are produced free from any political interference.  They are also subject to restrictions in terms of pre-release access. 

 5. The bulletin will be available in PDF format from either

6. Press queries about this publication should be directed to the DoJ Press Office on telephone number 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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