Proven reoffending

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • Black offenders had the highest rates of reoffending in 2016/17, at 33.3%
  • for the same period, offenders in the Other ethnic group had the lowest rate of reoffending, at 21.3%
  • across all ethnic groups, juveniles had a higher rate of reoffending than adults
  • in 2016/17, White offenders had the highest average number of reoffences per reoffender at 4.12 reoffences
Things you need to know

Ethnicity is decided by the police based on the offender’s appearance and is not confirmed by the offender or the Court.

Findings do not take into account important factors such as the nature of the crimes or the number of previous crimes. This should be taken into consideration when making any conclusions based on findings.

Proven reoffending statistics are produced using 3-monthly cohorts. This means that data reports on offenders who are released from custody (or received a non-custodial conviction or caution) in a 3-month period and who subsequently went on to reoffend within 12 months. Annual figures are calculated by taking an average of the four preceding three-month offender cohorts and so this means that a reoffender may appear more than once in the annual average figures

The statistics presented here are annual figures and therefore show the percentage of offenders who were released from custody (or received a non-custodial conviction or caution) within a 12-month period, and who then went on to reoffend over a 12 month follow-up period (or 18 months including time for the reoffence to be proven in court)

Figures for a given 12-month period (from April 2016 to March 2017, for example) do not mean the reoffences were committed during that period. It means that the offender was released from custody (or given a non-custodial conviction or caution) during that time.

Care should be taken when comparing figures from 2015/16 and 2016/17 to all earlier years, as the methodology and data source changed in October 2015. Reoffending rates may vary by up to 5 percentage points using the new method.

Measuring reoffending is difficult. Official records are taken from either the police or courts, but they underestimate the true level of reoffending. This is because not all crimes are detected and not all crimes and sanctions are recorded on one central system.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of adult and juvenile offenders who reoffended within 12 months of:

  • being released from custody
  • receiving a non-custodial conviction at court
  • receiving a caution

Only proven reoffences are counted. These are reoffences that led to a court conviction, caution, reprimand or warning within the 12 month period (or up to 18 months if needed to allow the reoffence to be proven in court).

The data also measures the average number of reoffences per reoffender. Both sets of findings are broken down by ethnicity and age group.

Data is presented for financial years (12-month period between April and March). Annual figures are calculated by taking an average from the four preceding 3-month cohorts of reoffenders. The percentage for each year is the percentage of offenders who were released from custody (or received a non-custodial conviction or caution) during that year and reoffended within 12 months. The number of reoffences committed by that group is also shown.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Ethnicity is decided by the police based on the offender’s appearance and was not confirmed by the offender or the Court. The data is broken down into the following broad groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • White
  • Other ethnic group

2. By ethnicity

Percentage and number of offenders who reoffended, and average number of reoffences, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of reoffenders Average number of reoffences per reoffender
Asian 24.0 6,569 3.33
Black 33.3 15,150 3.59
White 30.7 115,505 4.12
Other inc Mixed 21.3 1,136 3.46
Unknown 6.1 1,251 3.08

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • from October to December 2015, Black offenders had the highest rate of reoffending, at 33.3%
  • offenders in the Other ethnic group had the lowest reoffending rate, at 21.3%,
  • White offenders had the highest average number of reoffences per reoffender, at 4.12
  • Asian offenders had the lowest average number of reoffences per reoffender, at 3.33

3. By ethnicity and age group

Number and percentage of offenders who reoffended, and average number of reoffences, by ethnicity and age group
Juvenile Adult
Ethnicity Juvenile % Juvenile Number of reoffenders Juvenile Average number of reoffences Adult % Adult Number of reoffenders Adult Average number of reoffences
All 42.6 13,474 3.92 29.5 124,886 4.03
Asian 35.9 631 3.22 23.2 5,938 3.34
Black 48.6 2,373 3.69 31.5 12,777 3.57
White 41.9 10,351 4.02 29.9 105,154 4.13
Other inc Mixed 39.5 119 3.75 20.2 1,017 3.42
Unknown 11.9 212 3.45 5.6 1,039 3.00

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and age group’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and age group’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2016/17, 42.6% of juvenile offenders reoffended, compared with 29.5% of adult offenders (excluding where ethnicity was unknown)
  • the average number of reoffences per reoffender was higher for adults (4.03) compared with juveniles (3.92)
  • Black offenders had the highest rates of reoffending for both juveniles and adults, with 48.6% of juveniles and 31.5% of adults reoffending

4. By ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of offenders who reoffended, and average number of reoffences, by ethnicity over time
Asian Black White Other inc Mixed Unknown
Year Asian % Asian Number of reoffenders Black % Black Number of reoffenders White % White Number of reoffenders Other inc Mixed % Other inc Mixed Number of reoffenders Unknown % Unknown Number of reoffenders
2006/07 25.7 9,960 35.2 22,816 32.1 229,168 23.2 1,852 7.6 2,679
2007/08 25.2 10,425 35.1 24,076 31.9 233,669 22.3 1,831 8.6 2,385
2008/09 25.0 10,539 34.1 23,676 32.4 227,671 21.7 1,968 11.2 2,100
2009/10 24.5 9,978 33.9 22,609 31.7 207,837 21.4 1,934 11.0 1,891
2010/11 24.9 9,697 34.5 21,974 32.4 199,874 21.2 1,893 10.8 1,795
2011/12 24.2 8,785 34.0 20,336 32.3 186,832 21.0 1,699 9.5 1,711
2012/13 24.0 7,940 34.0 18,175 31.9 165,241 21.5 1,590 8.9 1,554
2013/14 23.9 7,744 34.1 17,660 32.3 158,053 22.0 1,551 8.6 1,574
2014/15 23.8 7,143 33.2 16,457 31.2 140,954 20.8 1,349 7.0 1,413
2015/16 24.1 6,972 33.5 16,379 30.6 128,487 20.7 1,236 6.4 1,301
2016/17 24.0 6,569 33.3 15,150 30.7 115,505 21.3 1,136 6.1 1,251

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • reoffending rates remained fairly consistent across all ethnic groups between 2006/07 and 2016/17
  • Black offenders had the highest rates of reoffending for this period, and offenders from the Other ethnic group had the lowest rates
  • due to a change in methodology and data source, take care when comparing recent figures with those from before 2015/16 as reoffending rates may vary by up to 5 percentage points using the new method

5. Reoffences per reoffender by ethnicity

Average number of reoffences per reoffender by ethnicity over time
Year Asian Black White Other inc Mixed Unknown
2006/07 2.91 3.09 3.29 2.83 2.68
2007/08 2.87 3.08 3.28 2.82 2.88
2008/09 2.83 2.97 3.26 2.78 2.86
2009/10 2.78 2.92 3.22 2.65 2.70
2010/11 2.86 3.02 3.32 2.99 2.86
2011/12 2.79 2.95 3.37 2.78 2.81
2012/13 2.96 3.08 3.51 2.86 2.72
2013/14 3.06 3.19 3.64 2.87 2.86
2014/15 3.15 3.35 3.75 3.02 3.00
2015/16 3.31 3.47 3.87 3.05 2.78
2016/17 3.33 3.59 4.12 3.46 3.08

Download table data for ‘Reoffences per reoffender by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Reoffences per reoffender by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • the average number of reoffences committed per reoffender increased across all ethnic groups between 2006/07 and 2016/17
  • White reoffenders consistently had the highest average number of reoffences
  • due to a change in methodology and data source, take care when comparing recent figures with those from before 2015/16 as reoffending rates may vary by up to 5 percentage points using the new method

6. Methodology

A proven reoffence is defined as any offence committed within 12 months following release from a custodial sentence, a non-custodial conviction or a caution that leads to a subsequent court conviction, caution, reprimand or warning within those 12 months (or within 18 months to allow the offence to be proven in court).

Proven reoffending is measured using a number of data sources including an extract of the Police National Computer (PNC) held by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

The process involves matching offender details from the prison and probation data to the personal details recorded on the PNC. Administrative datasets of this size tend to be very high quality, however there may still be inaccuracies due to errors when collecting the data. Some offenders who could not be matched to the PNC have been excluded from the figures.

Proven reoffending statistics are produced using 3-monthly cohorts. This means that data reports on offenders who are released from custody (or received a non-custodial conviction or caution) in a 3-month period and who subsequently went on to reoffend within 12 months. Annual figures are calculated by taking an average of the four preceding three-month offender cohorts and so this means that a reoffender may appear more than once in the annual average figures.

Due to a methodology and data source change in October 2015, users should be careful when using the April 2015 to March 2016 cohort and any subsequent annual figures to compare to the April 2014 to March 2015 cohort and earlier years.

Further information about the change of data source and methodology can be found in MOJ’s publication How the measure of proven reoffending has changed and the effect of these changes (PDF).

The estimates in this measure can be used to calculate a relative rate index of the proportion of offenders who reoffend, as published in the Lammy review. The index provides an estimate of how more likely or less likely offenders from a particular ethnic group are to reoffend, relative to white offenders. To calculate the relative rate index, divide the proportion of offenders who reoffend for the ethnic group of interest by the proportion of offenders who reoffend for the White group.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Proportions and averages based on fewer than 30 offenders are removed as they make estimates unreliable. Number of reoffenders, reoffences and previous offences based on fewer than five offenders are suppressed. This is to prevent the disclosure of individual information.

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place. Reoffences per reoffender are rounded to 2 decimal places.

Further technical information

Proven reoffending statistics.

Guide to proven reoffending statistics (PDF).

7. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Ministry of Justice

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Reoffending data is used by the government to aid in the development of policy and the delivery of services to reduce re-offending.

8. Download the data

Proven reoffending data - Spreadsheet (csv) 5 KB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, age group, number of offenders, number of reoffenders, number of reoffences, average number of reoffences per reoffender