Adult and Youth Reoffending in Northern Ireland Cohort 2018/19 Published Today

Date published: 25 November 2021

The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published Research and Statistics Bulletin:
• ‘Adult and Youth Reoffending In Northern Ireland (2018/19 Cohort)’.

Stats graphic

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 2018/19 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 (2018/19 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 2018/19 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 20,856 people included in the 2018/19 cohort, 3,860 (18.5%) reoffended during the one year observational period (adults 17.9%, youths 30.1%).
  • The 2018/19 cohort was made up of 19,841 adults (95.1%) and 1,015 young people (4.9%). Of the adults within the cohort, 17.9% reoffended. The corresponding figure for young people was 30.1%.
  • Of the 3,860 who reoffended, over two-fifths (44.9%) committed their first reoffence within the first three months (adults 44.2%, youths 52.9%).
  • In terms of offending history, 63.8% of the 20,856 had committed previous offences, ranging from one to 590 distinct offences, (adults 65.2%, youths 35.1%).
  • Overall, 13.7% of females and 19.7% of males had reoffended (adult females 13.2% and adult males 19.1%, youth females 23.6% and youth males 31.9%).
  • The one year proven reoffending rate for[1];
    • custody releases was 45.6% (adults 44.9% and 19 of 22 youths).
  • court community disposal (supervision) was 33.9% (adults 32.0%, youths 56.8%).
  • court community disposal (no supervision) was 18.0% (adults 17.7%, youths 45.1%).
  • diversionary disposal was 15.7% (adults 13.0%, youths 26.2%).
  • The highest reoffending rates were found amongst those who had committed a baseline offence in the ‘Burglary’ category (46.7%), followed by ‘Robbery’ (34.7%).  This was the same for adults only, (‘Burglary’ 47.8% and ‘Robbery’ 35.6%). For youths, the highest reoffending rates were found amongst those who had committed a baseline offence of ‘Criminal Damage’ (37.4%).

[1] Base reoffending rates should not be used to measure the comparative success of different disposal types in their own right. The reason for this is that different offender characteristics and histories, coupled with different offence types, will themselves be related to the type of disposal given. Therefore, offender profiles may differ substantially between the different disposal types.

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.  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. 

4.  The bulletin will be available in PDF format from either the publication section of the DoJ web-site or by contacting Analytical Services Group, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast BT4 3SG. Email: statistics.research@justice-ni.gov.uk

5.  Press queries about this publication should be directed to the DoJ Press Office via email to press.office@justice-ni.gov.uk

6.  The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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