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Background: Comparing recidivism rates between countries may provide useful information about the relative effectiveness of different criminal justice policies. A previous 2015 review identified criminal recidivism data for 18 countries and found little consistency in outcome definitions and time periods. We aimed to update recidivism rates in prisoners internationally. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of criminal recidivism rates in prisoners and followed PRISMA guidelines. Using three bibliographic indexes, we carried out non-country-specific and targeted searches for 50 countries with the largest total prison populations. We included reports and studies of released prisoners that reported re-arrest, reconviction and reincarceration rates. Meta-analysis was not possible due to multiple sources of heterogeneity. Results: We identified criminal recidivism information for 23 countries. Of the 50 countries with the largest prison populations, 10 reported recidivism rates for prisoners. The most commonly reported outcome was the 2-year reconviction rate. We were able to examine recidivism over different time periods for 11 countries and found that most reported small changes in official recidivism rates. Overall, for 2-year follow-up period, reported re-arrest rates were between 26% and 60%, reconviction rates ranged from 20% to 63%, and reimprisonment rates varied from 14 to 45%. Conclusions: Although some countries made efforts to improve reporting, recidivism rates are not comparable between countries. Criminal justice agencies should consider using reporting guidelines described here to update their data.
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RESEARCHNOTE
A systematic review of criminal recidivism rates worldwide:
3-year update [version 1; referees: awaiting peer review]
DenisYukhnenko , ShivpriyaSridhar , SeenaFazel1
DepartmentofPsychiatry,UniversityofOxford,Oxford,Oxfordshire,OX37JX,UK
CollegeofArtsandSciences,UniversityofNorthCarolinaatChapelHill,ChapelHill,NorthCarolina,NC27599,USA
Abstract
ComparingrecidivismratesbetweencountriesmayprovideBackground:
usefulinformationabouttherelativeeffectivenessofdifferentcriminaljustice
policies.Aprevious2015reviewidentifiedcriminalrecidivismdatafor18
countriesandfoundlittleconsistencyinoutcomedefinitionsandtimeperiods.
Weaimedtoupdaterecidivismratesinprisonersinternationally.
WeconductedasystematicreviewofcriminalrecidivismratesinMethods:
prisonersandfollowedPRISMAguidelines.Usingthreebibliographicindexes,
wecarriedoutnon-country-specificandtargetedsearchesfor50countrieswith
thelargesttotalprisonpopulations.Weincludedreportsandstudiesof
releasedprisonersthatreportedre-arrest,reconvictionandreincarceration
rates.Meta-analysiswasnotpossibleduetomultiplesourcesofheterogeneity.
Weidentifiedcriminalrecidivisminformationfor23countries.OftheResults:
50countrieswiththelargestprisonpopulations,10reportedrecidivismratesfor
prisoners.Themostcommonlyreportedoutcomewasthe2-yearreconviction
rate.Wewereabletoexaminerecidivismoverdifferenttimeperiodsfor11
countriesandfoundthatmostreportedsmallchangesinofficialrecidivism
rates.Overall,for2-yearfollow-upperiod,reportedre-arrestrateswere
between26%and60%,reconvictionratesrangedfrom20%to63%,and
reimprisonmentratesvariedfrom14to45%.
Althoughsomecountriesmadeeffortstoimprovereporting,Conclusions:
recidivismratesarenotcomparablebetweencountries.Criminaljustice
agenciesshouldconsiderusingreportingguidelinesdescribedheretoupdate
theirdata.
Keywords
prison,prisoners,recidivism,repeatoffending,re-arrest,reconviction,
reimprisonment,systematicreview
1 2 1
1
2
Referee Status: AWAITING PEER
REVIEW
11Feb2019, :28(First published: 4
)https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.14970.1
11Feb2019, :28(Latest published: 4
)https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.14970.1
v1
Page 1 of 10
Wellcome Open Research 2019, 4:28 Last updated: 11 FEB 2019
SeenaFazel( )Corresponding author: seena.fazel@psych.ox.ac.uk
 :DataCuration,FormalAnalysis,Investigation,Validation,Visualization,Writing–OriginalDraftPreparation;Author roles: Yukhnenko D Sridhar
:DataCuration,Investigation,Visualization; :Conceptualization,FundingAcquisition,Methodology,ProjectAdministration,Supervision,S Fazel S
Writing–Review&Editing
Nocompetinginterestsweredisclosed.Competing interests:
SFisfundedbytheWellcomeTrust(grantnumber202836).Grant information:
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
©2019YukhnenkoD .Thisisanopenaccessarticledistributedunderthetermsofthe ,Copyright: et al CreativeCommonsAttributionLicence
whichpermitsunrestricteduse,distribution,andreproductioninanymedium,providedtheoriginalworkisproperlycited.
YukhnenkoD,SridharSandFazelS.How to cite this article: A systematic review of criminal recidivism rates worldwide: 3-year update
WellcomeOpenResearch2019, :28( )[version 1; referees: awaiting peer review] 4 https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.14970.1
11Feb2019, :28( )First published: 4 https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.14970.1
Page 2 of 10
Wellcome Open Research 2019, 4:28 Last updated: 11 FEB 2019
Introduction
The number of prisoners and the associated economic burden
continue to increase worldwide (MacDonald, 2018; McLaughlin
et al., 2016; Penal Reform International, 2018). Recently released
prisoners often constitute a high-risk group that commit the
majority of violent crimes (Andersen & Skardhamar, 2014;
Ministry of Justice, 2018), with around one-fifth of all crimes
in any year being committed by those released from custody
(Petersilia, 2011). With the increasing recognition of the health
burden of violence and crime (World Health Organisation, 2014),
reducing recidivism can potentially make a large contribution
to public safety and public health.
Recidivism rates (or rates of repeat offending) are often used as
a measure of effectiveness of prison systems and post-release
offender management programmes (Ministry of Justice, 2017).
The comparison of recidivism rates between countries and regions
may provide useful information about relative effectiveness of
different sentencing and rehabilitation policies. However, the
operational definitions of recidivism may vary significantly
between countries. In a previous systematic review, recidivism
rates among prisoners worldwide, published before December
2014, were examined (Fazel & Wolf, 2015) and differences in
outcome definitions, reporting practices and their comparabil-
ity between countries were outlined. In addition, a proposed
reporting guideline to facilitate international comparisons of
recidivism statistics was published.
Here, we provide an update on recidivism rates in prisoners
worldwide.
Methods
This review followed the methods of the previously published
study by Fazel & Wolf (2015). We searched MEDLINE with no
language and publication time restrictions. The keywords included
the names of the 50 countries with largest prison populations in
absolute terms (World Prison Brief, 2018) and a list of com-
monly reported outcomes (Figure 1). Google Scholar and Google
Web were used for subsequent targeted searches. In addition,
we scanned reference lists of included documents. In case of
multiple reports identified for the same country, we extracted
the most recent data. Studies for geographical regions within
the country were included if the national information were
unavailable or dated.
We included cohorts where reconviction, re-arrest, and
re-imprisonment rates in released prisoners were examined. We
excluded studies of recidivism in individuals receiving non-
custodial sentences or in heterogeneous samples of offend-
ers without data for a subgroup of released prisoners. If no new
data had been identified for a particular country, we reported
the rates from the original review (Fazel & Wolf, 2015). Due to
heterogeneity in outcome definition and time periods, meta-
analysis was not conducted.
DY and PS conducted the search and extracted the data on
country, sample selection, definitions of outcomes and rates.
Uncertainties were checked with SF.
Results
We identified 27 publications that reported recidivism rates
in released prisoners from 23 countries (Table 1 and Table 2).
Of the 50 countries with the largest prison populations, recidivism
statistics were identified for 10 countries. The data were pub-
lished by governmental agencies apart from one published thesis
(Yeoman, 2015). In addition, we identified several publications
that reported cross-sectional data on recidivism (i.e. how many
current prisoners had previous convictions; from Brunei, Finland,
Ghana, India, Russia and Thailand) but these did not provide
information on time at risk and were excluded.
For all reported outcomes, a 2-year follow-up period was the
most commonly used. The 2-year re-arrest rates ranged from 26%
(Singapore) to 60% (USA), two-year reconviction rates ranged
from 20% (Norway) to 63% (Denmark), and two-year reim-
prisonment rates ranged from 14% (USA – Oregon) to 43%
(Canada – Quebec, New Zealand) (see Table 3 for 2-year rates
from included countries).
We additionally compared reconviction rates examined in the
previous review (Fazel & Wolf, 2015) with updated information
(Table 4).
Discussion
In this systematic review, we have reported prisoner recidivism
rates around the world and found that 10 out of 50 countries with
the largest prison populations reported recidivism statistics for
cohorts of released prisoners. In addition, although some jurisdic-
tions have made efforts to increase comparability of recidivism
statistics (e.g., Northern Ireland implemented the same recon-
viction criteria as England and Wales), overall recidivism rates
remain difficult to compare between countries because of sig-
nificant variations in outcome definitions and reporting prac-
tices. For two countries that were included in the original 2015
review, no new published data was identified (Finland and
Norway).
Overall, for the countries with updated data available, any
changes in recidivism rates over time were small where there were
no obvious revisions to reporting practices. This contrasts with
reductions in self-reported crime in some surveys in high-
income countries such as England and Wales (Office for National
Statistics, 2018). Changes in rates were observed in those coun-
tries that changed the operationalisation of the outcome or the
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Wellcome Open Research 2019, 4:28 Last updated: 11 FEB 2019
Figure 1. PRISMA flow diagram. Search on Ovid MEDLINE, 1946 to November 25, 2018, with no language restrictions: (recidivism OR
re-imprisonment OR reconviction OR repeat offending) AND (USA OR United States OR China OR Russia* OR Brazil OR India OR Thailand
OR Indonesia OR Turkey OR Iran OR Mexico OR Philippines OR South Africa OR Vietnam OR Colombia OR Ethiopia OR Egypt OR
Bangladesh OR Peru OR Pakistan OR United Kingdom OR Morocco OR Argentina OR Myanmar OR Burma OR Nigeria OR Poland OR
France OR Taiwan OR Germany OR Saudi Arabia OR Rwanda OR Algeria OR Italy OR Spain OR Cuba OR Venezuela OR Malaysia OR
South Korea OR Uganda OR Kenya OR Japan OR Iraq OR Uzbekistan OR Chile OR Australia OR Canada OR Salvador OR Ecuador OR
Belarus OR Kazakhstan).
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ways they collect and report data. One exception to this is the
Republic of Ireland, where the recidivism has decreased by 6%
in 3 years in the absence of any obvious changes in reporting
practices. This downward trend may reflect improved effective-
ness of Irish prison services and post-release rehabilitation. At
the same time, the number of people in the released prison-
ers’ cohort nearly doubled from 5,489 in 2008 (Central Statistics
Office, 2013) to 9,339 in 2010 (Central Statistics Office,
2016), and this decrease in reconviction rates may reflect
the inclusion of lower risk individuals in the newer
cohort.
We conclude that international comparisons between countries
remain problematic, and the use of a checklist (Appendix 1;
Fazel et al., 2019a) may facilitate more consistent and transparent
reporting of recidivism rates.
Page 4 of 10
Wellcome Open Research 2019, 4:28 Last updated: 11 FEB 2019
Table 1. Description of the extracted data.
Country Study Description of outcomes Follow-up Notes and exclusions
Australia Australian
Government, 2018
Reconviction
Return of an individual to Corrective Services during a follow-up period.
Reimprisonment
Return of an individual to prison.
2 years Age range is unclear
Austria Statistik Austria, 2018 Reconviction
The conviction should happen during a follow-up period.
1, 2, 3, 4
years
Canada – Ontario Ontario Ministry of Community
Safety and Correctional
Services, 2017
Reconviction
Return to a provincial correctional supervision after committing an
offence during the time of follow-up
2 years Includes individual receiving a
sentence longer than 6 months.
Excludes individuals sentenced to
federal prisons
Canada – Quebec Ministère de la Sécurité
publique, 2015
Reconviction
The crime and conviction should both happen during a follow-up to be
counted as recidivism.
Reimprisonment
Receiving a new prison sentence during a follow-up period.
2 years
Chile Gendarmería
de Chile, 2013
Reconviction
The conviction should happen during a follow-up period.
2 years
Denmark Statistics Denmark, 2018 Reconviction
3 years after follow-up ends, an individual can be sentenced for an
offence committed during the follow-up period.
6 months,
1 year, 2
years
Cohort of people released from
custody aged 20 years old and older.
Estonia Ahven et al., 2018 Re-arrest
Being a suspect of crime.
2 years
Finland*Graunbøl et al., 2010 Reconviction
The offence and conviction should both happen during a follow-up
period
2 years
France Ministère
de la Justice, 2013
Reconviction
The offence and conviction should both happen during a follow-up to
be counted as recidivism.
1, 2, 3, 4,
5, 6 years
Follow-up period starts next
calendar year from the year of initial
conviction. Follow-up may overlap
with time in prison.
Germany Hans-Jörg & Jörg-Martin, 2014 Reconviction
The offence and conviction should both happen during a follow-up to
be counted as recidivism.
3 years
Iceland Yeoman, 2015 Reconviction
Receiving a new sentences during a follow-up period.
2 years Includes prisoners in Vernd (“halfway
house”, type of parole)
Ireland, Republic of Central Statistics
Office, 2016
Reconviction
To be counted as a recidivism event, an offence should occur within a
follow-up period and a conviction should happen within two years after
the offence.
3 years
Israel Walk & Berman, 2015 Reimprisonment
Receiving a new prison sentence during a follow-up period.
1, 2, 3, 4,
5 years
Italy Mastrobuoni & Terlizzese, 2014 Re-arrest
A new arrest during a follow-up period.
3 years Selected sample. May not be fully
representative.
Latvia Ķipēna et al., 2013 Reconviction
(or initiation of proceedings)
A new criminal charge that did not results in acquittal or other technical
dismissal during a follow-up period.
29 months
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Wellcome Open Research 2019, 4:28 Last updated: 11 FEB 2019
Country Study Description of outcomes Follow-up Notes and exclusions
Netherlands Ministerie van Justice en
Veiligheid, 2018
Reconviction (or initiation of proceedings)
A new criminal charge that did not results in acquittal or other technical
dismissal during a follow-up period A new criminal charge that did
not results in acquittal or other technical dismissal during a follow-up
period
1, 2, 3
years
New Zealand Department of
Corrections, 2017; Department
of Corrections, 2018
Reconviction
The crime and conviction should both happen during a follow-up to be
counted as recidivism.
Reimprisonment
Receiving a new prison sentence during a follow-up period.
1, 2 years
Norway*Graunbøl et al., 2010 Reconviction
The offence and conviction should both happen during a follow-up
period
2 years
Singapore Singapore Prison Service, 2018 Re-arrest
Released individual detained or convicted and imprisoned again for
any new offence during a follow-up period.
2 years Includes Drug Rehabilitation Centre
inmates
South Korea Indicator, 2018 Reimprisonment
Receiving a new prison sentence during a follow-up period.
3 years
Spain – Catalonia Area of Research and Social
and Criminological
Formation, 2015
Reimprisonment
Receiving a new prison sentence during a follow-up period.
3.5 years
Sweden Swedish National Council for
Crime Prevention, 2012
Reconviction
The offence and conviction should both happen during a follow-up
period
1, 2, 3
years
UK: E&W Ministry of Justice, 2018 Proven reoffending
6 months after observational period ends, an individual can be
sentenced for an offence committed during this period.
1 year
UK: N. Ireland Department of Justice, 2017 Proven reoffending
6 months after observational period ends, an individual can be
sentenced for an offence committed during this period.
1 year
UK: Scotland Scottish Government, 2018 Reconviction
The conviction should happen during a follow-up period to be counted
as recidivism
1 year
USA Alper et al., 2018 Re-arrest
An arrest should happen during a follow-up period anywhere in the US.
1, 2, 3, 4,
5, 6, 7, 8,
9 years
The same 2005 federal cohort as
examined in Fazel & Wolf (2015).
Data for longer follow-up periods
became available.
USA – N. Carolina Flinchum et al., 2016 Re-arrest
Reconviction
Reimprisonment
A respective event should happen during a follow-up period on the
state territory.
1, 2 years
USA – Oregon State of Oregon Criminal
Justice Commission, 2018
Re-arrest
Reconviction
Reimprisonment
A respective event should happen during a follow-up period on the
state territory.
1, 2, 3
years
Includes released prisoners on
parole and post-release supervision.
* Recidivism rates from the original review (Fazel & Wolf, 2015) were reported since no new data had become available.
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Wellcome Open Research 2019, 4:28 Last updated: 11 FEB 2019
Table 2. Reconviction, re-arrest and reimprisonment rates in released prisoners by country and follow-up period length.
Country Year Cohort
size Follow-up Re-arrest Reconviction Reimprisonment Source
Australia 2016–2017 n/a 2 years 53% 45% Australian Government, 2018
Austria 2013 7,185 1 year 15% Statistik Austria, 2018
2 years 26%
3 years 32%
4 years 36%
Canada
– Ontario
2014–2015 2,610 2 years 35% Ontario Ministry of Community
Safety and Correctional
Services, 2017
Canada
– Quebec
2007–2008 9,483 2 years 55% 43% Ministère de la Sécurité
publique, 2015
Chile 2010 20,625 2 years 39% Gendarmería de Chile, 2013
Denmark 2013 3,904 6 months 36% Statistics Denmark, 2018
1 year 51%
2 years 63%
Estonia 2013–2015 8,500
(estimated)
2 years 37% Ahven et al., 2018
Finland*2005 4,507 2 years 36% Graunbøl et al., 2010
France 2004 78,580 1 year 26% Ministère de la Justice, 2013
2 years 40%
3 years 48%
4 years 54%
5 years 58%
6 years 61%
Germany 2010 26,602 3 years 46% Hans-Jörg & Jörg-Martin, 2014
Iceland 2009–2011 322 2 years 27% Yeoman, 2015
Ireland,
Republic of
2010 9,339 3 years 45% Central Statistics Office, 2016
Italy 2001–2009 479 3 years 28% Mastrobuoni & Terlizzese, 2014
Israel 2008 6,724 1 year 18% Walk & Berman, 2015
2 years 28%
3 years 34%
4 years 38%
5 years 41%
Latvia 2009 442 29 months 50% Ķipēna et al., 2013
Netherlands 2013 31,168 1 year 35% Ministerie van Justice en
Veiligheid, 2018
2 years 46%
3 years 51%
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Wellcome Open Research 2019, 4:28 Last updated: 11 FEB 2019
Country Year Cohort
size Follow-up Re-arrest Reconviction Reimprisonment Source
New
Zealand
2015–2016 n/a 1 year 46% 32% Department of Corrections, 2017
2 years 61% 43% Department of Corrections, 2018
Norway*2005 8,788 2 years 20% Graunbøl et al., 2010
Singapore 2015 13,700
(estimated)
2 years 26% Singapore Prison Service, 2018
South Korea 2013 22,121 3 years 25% Indicator, 2018
Spain
– Catalonia
2010 3,414 3.5 years 30% Area of Research and Social and
Criminological Formation, 2015
Sweden 2011 7,738 1 year 51% Swedish National Council for
Crime Prevention, 2012
2 years 61%
3 years 65%
UK: E&W 2015–2016 61,410 1 year 48% Ministry of Justice, 2018
UK: N.
Ireland
2014–2015 1,417 1 year 37% Department of Justice, 2017
UK:
Scotland
2015–2016 6,295 1 year 43% Scottish Government, 2018
USA 2005 401,288 1 year 44% Alper et al., 2018
2 years 60%
3 years 68%
4 years 74%
5 years 77%
6 year 80%
7 years 81%
8 years 82%
9 years 83%
USA – N.
Carolina
2013 13,873 1 year 31% 11% 12% Flinchum et al., 2016
2 years 48% 26% 21%
USA
– Oregon
2014 4,357 1 year 40% 23% 7% State of Oregon Criminal Justice
Commission, 2018
2 years 51% 36% 14%
3 years 57% 43% 19%
* Recidivism rates from the original review (Fazel & Wolf, 2015) were reported since no new data had become available.
Page 8 of 10
Wellcome Open Research 2019, 4:28 Last updated: 11 FEB 2019
Table 3. The 2-year reconviction rates in released prisoners.
Country Year Cohort size Reconviction Source
Australia 2016–2017 n/a 53% Australian Government, 2018
Austria 2013 7,185 26% Statistik Austria, 2018
Canada – Ontario 2014–2015 2,610 35% Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, 2017
Canada – Quebec 2007–2008 9,483 55% Ministère de la Sécurité publique, 2015
Chile 2010 20,625 39% Gendarmería de Chile, 2013
Denmark 2013 3,904 63% Statistics Denmark, 2018
Finland*2005 4,507 36% Graunbøl et al., 2010
France 2004 78,580 40% Ministère de la Justice, 2013
Iceland 2009–2011 322 27% Yeoman, 2015
Netherlands 2013 31,168 46% Ministerie van Justice en Veiligheid, 2018
New Zealand 2015–2016 n/a 61% Department of Corrections, 2018
Norway*2005 8,788 20% Graunbøl et al., 2010
Sweden 2011 7,738 61% Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, 2012
USA – N. Carolina 2013 13,873 26% Flinchum et al., 2016
USA – Oregon 2014 4,357 36% State of Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, 2018
*Reconviction rates from the original review (Fazel & Wolf, 2015) were reported since no new data had become available.
Table 4. The comparison of the reconviction rates in released prisoners reported in the previous review (Fazel & Wolf, 2015) with
those reported in the present review.
Country Previously reported
rate (year)
New rate
(year)
Notes
1-year reconviction
UK: E&W 46% (2000)
45% (2012/2013)
48%
(2015/2016)
Change in data source and cohort composition in 2015.
Rates for 2012/2013 were recalculated as 49% in the newly published
statistics.
Significant difference between recalculated 2012/2013 rates and 2015/2016
rates (χ2 = 15.6, df = 1, p = 0.0001).
UK: N. Ireland 25% (2005) 37%
(2014/2015)
Change in the outcome definition.
UK: Scotland 46% (2009/2010) 43%
(2015/2016)
Rates for 2009/2010 were recalculated from 45.7% in the old publication to
46.3% in the newly published statistics.
Significant difference between recalculated 2009/2010 rates and 2015/2016
rates (χ2 = 11.4, df = 1, p = 0.0007).
2-year reconviction
Denmark 29% (2005) 63% (2013) Change in reporting practices.
Sweden 43% (2005) 61% (2011) Change in reporting practices.
Iceland 27% (2005) 27%
(2009/2011)
No significant difference (χ2 = 0, df = 1, p = 0.9984).
Netherlands 48% (2007) 46% (2013) Rates for 2007 were recalculated as 49% in the newly published statistics.
Significant difference between 2007 recalculated rates and 2013 rates
(χ2 =94.2, df = 1, p = 0.0001).
Singapore 27% (2011) 26% (2015) No exact information about sample size available for 2015.
3-year reconviction
Germany 48% (2004) 46% (2010) No exact information about sample size available for 2010.
Ireland, Republic of 51% (2008) 45% (2010) Significant difference (χ2 = 48.1, df = 1, p = 0.0001).
Larger number of prisoners in the newer cohort.
5-year reconviction
France 59% (2002) 40% (2004) Change in reporting practices.
Page 9 of 10
Wellcome Open Research 2019, 4:28 Last updated: 11 FEB 2019
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Data availability
Appendix 1, containing the recidivism reporting checklist, is
available from OSF.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/QVTFB (Fazel et al.,
2019a).
License: CC0 1.0 Universal.
Reporting guidelines
A completed PRISMA checklist is available on OSF. DOI: https://
doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/7SZJC (Yukhnenko et al., 2019b)
Grant information
SF is funded by the Wellcome Trust (grant number 202836).
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and
analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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Wellcome Open Research 2019, 4:28 Last updated: 11 FEB 2019
... Post-release and transitional programs are often evaluated based on a measurement of recidivism. Recidivism is used to measure the proportion of people who go on to reoffend during a pre-defined post-release period (Bartels & Gaffney, 2011;Sullivan et al., 2019;Urban Institute, n.d.;Yukhnenko, Sridhar, & Fazel, 2019). A systematic review of recidivism rates, two years post-release for both men and women across 11 countries found re-arrest rates were between 26% and 60% and reconviction rates ranged from 20% to 63% (Yukhnenko et al., 2019). ...
... Recidivism is used to measure the proportion of people who go on to reoffend during a pre-defined post-release period (Bartels & Gaffney, 2011;Sullivan et al., 2019;Urban Institute, n.d.;Yukhnenko, Sridhar, & Fazel, 2019). A systematic review of recidivism rates, two years post-release for both men and women across 11 countries found re-arrest rates were between 26% and 60% and reconviction rates ranged from 20% to 63% (Yukhnenko et al., 2019). These recidivism rates suggest that many people with a history of incarceration either do not access, or do not benefit from services and programs during their time in prison, or do not have adequate support or change in social circumstances in the community to prevent reoffendingarrest (Baldry, McDonnell, Maplestone, & Peeters, 2006). ...
... Many studies did not follow participants past the completion of the intervention not allowing measurement of long-term impact. A follow-up period of two years has been recommended by a number of researchers as being optimal to understand the longterm effects of a program on participants (Andersen & Skardhamar, 2015; Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services, 2014; Yukhnenko et al., 2019). ...
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Background: Comparing recidivism rates between countries may provide useful information about the relative effectiveness of different criminal justice policies. A previous 2015 review identified criminal recidivism data for 18 countries and found little consistency in outcome definitions and time periods. We aimed to update recidivism rates in prisoners internationally. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of criminal recidivism rates in prisoners and followed PRISMA guidelines. Using five bibliographic indexes, we carried out non-country-specific and targeted searches for 50 countries with the largest total prison populations. We included reports and studies of released prisoners that reported re-arrest, reconviction and reincarceration rates. Meta-analysis was not possible due to multiple sources of heterogeneity. Results: We identified criminal recidivism information for 23 countries. Of the 50 countries with the largest prison populations, 10 reported recidivism rates for prisoners. The most commonly reported outcome was the 2-year reconviction rate. We were able to examine reconviction between different time periods for 11 countries and found that most reported small changes in official recidivism rates. Overall, for 2-year follow-up period, reported re-arrest rates were between 26% and 60%, reconviction rates ranged from 20% to 63%, and reimprisonment rates varied from 14 to 45%. Conclusions: Although some countries have made efforts to improve reporting, recidivism rates are not comparable between countries. Criminal justice agencies should consider using reporting guidelines described here to update their data.
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Objectives To systematically review recidivism rates internationally, report whether they are comparable and, on the basis of this, develop best reporting guidelines for recidivism. Methods We searched MEDLINE, Google Web, and Google Scholar search engines for recidivism rates around the world, using both non-country-specific searches as well as targeted searches for the 20 countries with the largest total prison populations worldwide. Results We identified recidivism data for 18 countries. Of the 20 countries with the largest prison populations, only 2 reported repeat offending rates. The most commonly reported outcome was 2-year reconviction rates in prisoners. Sample selection and definitions of recidivism varied widely, and few countries were comparable. Conclusions Recidivism data are currently not valid for international comparisons. Justice Departments should consider using the reporting guidelines developed in this paper to report their data.
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The Nordic countries are often seen as “exceptional” in that they have moderate punitive policies while also having low rates of crime and recidivism. It is, however, a challenge for comparative recidivism research that recidivism is measured in widely disparate ways. We exploit the richness and flexibility of Norwegian registry data to examine how and how much national recidivism rates may be affected by how, among whom, and for how long recidivism is measured. Our results vary from 9% to 53%, and these numbers could—notwithstanding scientific scrutiny—be taken as a validation as well as a debunking of the abovementioned notion of the Nordic penal exceptionalism.
Retsidiivsus Eestis 2017
  • A Ahven
Correctional program evaluation: offenders placed on probation or released from prison in FY 2013. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission
  • T Flinchum
La reincidencia: un desafío para la gestión del Sistema penitenciario chileno y las políticas públicas [in Spanish]
  • Gendarmería de Chile
Sodu izcietušo personu noziedzīgo nodarījumu recidīvs.
  • K Ķipēna
Ķipēna K, Zavackis A, Ņikišins J: Sodu izcietušo personu noziedzīgo nodarījumu recidīvs. Jurista Vārds. 2013; 35(786): 12-17.
Recidivism among Icelandic prison inmates released in 2009-2011 (thesis, Reykjavik University)
  • K Yeoman