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Recidivism in the Republic of Ireland

NCJ Number
Criminology and Criminal Justice: An International Journal Volume: 8 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2008 Pages: 123-146
Ian O'Donnell; Eric P. Baumer; Nicola Hughes
Date Published
May 2008
24 pages
This study examined levels and predictors of recidivism among persons released from Irish prisons.
Findings suggest that Ireland scores relatively high in terms of the available stock of social capital and informal social control. These features appear to generate low levels of crime, however levels of recidivism in Ireland are not much different to those found in other nations that have higher crime rates and are often characterized as being less communitarian in nature. Even though communitarian social features theoretically should promote high levels of reintegration, places with such features also may share with other societies the need for symbolic elements of social exclusion, which is perhaps met by a relatively high recidivism rate. Other features in society may shape recidivism levels beyond those articulated and emphasized in other research. These include factors associated with the nature of punishment, the availability of programming (jobs, drug treatment, etc.) in prison and upon release aimed at enhancing the likelihood of successful reintegration, and other social and cultural features (public perceptions of ex-prisoners and the degree to which people are willing to accept living near or employing ex-prisoners). Comparisons to recidivism rates/successful reentry in other countries are discussed. Further recidivism data that are gathered in more coordinated ways with studies from different nations using similar definitions and measures of recidivism, and also similar methodological techniques are needed. Tables, figures, references