Proven reoffending

The main facts and figures show that:

  • for the period October to December 2015, Black offenders had the highest rates of reoffending, at 33.9%
  • for the same period, offenders in the Other ethnic group had the lowest rate of reoffending, at 20.4%
  • across all ethnic groups, juveniles had a higher rate of reoffending than adults
  • for the period October through December 2015, White offenders had the highest average number of reoffences per reoffender and committed an average of 3.92 reoffences
  • on average, juvenile offenders from the Asian ethnic group committed fewer reoffences than adult offenders of the same background
Things you need to know

Findings do not take account of 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.

The figures show the percentage of offenders who were released from custody (or received a non-custodial conviction or caution) in a 3-month period, and reoffended within 12 months (or 18 months including time for the reoffence to be proven in court). The average number of reoffences is also shown, broken down by each ethnic group. Because of the way in which a reoffence is identified, an offender could have a long criminal history but not be counted as a reoffender if their offences are separated by more than 12 months.

It’s important to understand that figures for a given 3-month period (from October to December 2015, for example) do not relate to reoffences committed during that period, but rather to reoffences committed by offenders who were released from custody, or given a non-custodial conviction or caution, during that 3-month period.

Figures from October to December 2015 should not be compared with figures from earlier periods, as they use a different data source to the other periods.

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.

Other methods of measuring reoffending, such as self-report studies, are also likely to underestimate the rate.

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 lead 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 in 3-monthly periods. The percentage for each period is the percentage of offenders who were released from custody (or received a non-custodial conviction or caution) during that period and reoffended within 12 months; the number of reoffences committed by that group is also shown.

The ethnic categories used in this data

For this data, the number of people counted was too small to draw any firm conclusions about detailed ethnic categories. Therefore, the data is broken down into the following broad groups:

  • White
  • Black
  • Asian
  • Other ethnic group

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Percentage of offenders who reoffended 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 24.5 1,795 3.31
Black 33.9 4,090 3.52
White 30.7 32,015 3.92
Other 20.4 307 2.91
Unknown 6.3 317 2.96

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • for the period October to December 2015, Black offenders had the highest rate of reoffending, at 33.9%
  • White offenders had the highest average number of reoffences per reoffender, at 3.92
  • offenders in the Other ethnic group had the lowest reoffending rate, at 20.4%, and the lowest average number of reoffences per reoffender, at 2.91
  • these results should not be compared with estimates from other periods because the data sources differ

Percentage of offenders who reoffended 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 % Number of reoffenders Average number of reoffences % Number of reoffenders Average number of reoffences
All 43.1 3,875 3.89 29.6 34,332 3.83
Asian 37.8 176 3.26 23.6 1,619 3.32
Black 50.6 613 3.62 32.0 3,477 3.50
White 42.3 3,062 3.99 29.9 28,953 3.91
Other 39.3 24 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 19.6 283 2.96

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, for the period October to December 2015, 43.1% of juvenile offenders reoffended, compared with 29.6% of adult offenders
  • the average number of reoffences per reoffender was similar for both juveniles (3.89) and adults (3.83)
  • Black offenders had the highest rates of reoffending for both juveniles and adults, with 50.6% of juveniles and 32.0% of adults reoffending
  • these results should not be compared with estimates from other periods because the data sources differ

Percentage of offenders who reoffended by ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of offenders who reoffended, and average number of reoffences, by ethnicity over time

Asian Black White Other Unknown
Year and quarter % Number of reoffenders % Number of reoffenders % Number of reoffenders % Number of reoffenders % Number of reoffenders
2011 Q1 25.6 2,457 34.7 5,434 32.6 49,054 21.0 479 10.4 456
2011 Q2 25.0 2,324 34.9 5,330 32.7 48,015 21.1 443 10.1 447
2011 Q3 24.0 2,229 33.7 5,201 32.7 49,053 21.3 420 9.1 425
2011 Q4 23.9 2,095 34.0 4,913 31.9 44,918 20.2 405 9.7 437
2012 Q1 23.9 2,137 33.6 4,892 31.8 44,846 21.2 431 9.3 402
2012 Q2 24.3 2,016 34.3 4,551 31.7 41,618 21.2 391 8.8 366
2012 Q3 23.5 2,002 33.8 4,641 31.8 43,056 21.5 399 9.2 414
2012 Q4 24.4 2,017 33.9 4,500 31.8 40,370 20.3 378 8.8 387
2013 Q1 23.8 1,905 34.1 4,483 32.5 40,197 23.3 422 8.9 387
2013 Q2 24.3 1,941 34.4 4,434 32.8 40,106 21.2 379 9.8 401
2013 Q3 23.5 1,944 34.6 4,608 32.6 40,659 23.5 408 9.1 387
2013 Q4 24.0 1,956 33.6 4,309 31.8 38,630 20.8 359 7.9 378
2014 Q1 23.8 1,903 33.6 4,309 31.8 38,658 22.6 405 7.9 408
2014 Q2 23.6 1,753 33.2 4,087 31.8 36,446 21.7 350 7.3 357
2014 Q3 24.0 1,832 32.6 4,142 31.6 36,541 20.9 342 6.8 341
2014 Q4 23.6 1,749 33.6 4,090 31.0 34,220 18.9 297 7.3 366
2015 Q1 23.8 1,809 33.6 4,138 30.5 33,747 21.6 360 6.7 349
2015 Q2 23.5 1,666 33.9 4,185 30.7 32,940 20.5 307 6.2 321
2015 Q3 23.5 1,698 33.4 4,073 30.4 32,230 21.0 325 6.2 324

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • for the period January to March 2011 through to July to September 2015, reoffending rates remained fairly consistent across all ethnic groups
  • Black offenders had the highest rates of reoffending for this period, and offenders from the Other ethnic group had the lowest rates
  • these results should not be compared with estimates from October to December 2015 because the data sources differ

Average number of reoffences per reoffender

Average number of reoffences per reoffender by ethnicity over time

Year and quarter Asian Black White Other Unknown
2011 Q1 2.84 3.00 3.34 2.95 2.62
2011 Q2 2.74 2.98 3.36 2.81 2.85
2011 Q3 2.77 2.94 3.35 2.66 2.83
2011 Q4 2.77 2.91 3.38 2.85 2.93
2012 Q1 2.89 2.97 3.38 2.82 2.63
2012 Q2 2.86 3.01 3.46 2.89 2.86
2012 Q3 2.92 3.08 3.48 2.98 2.38
2012 Q4 3.03 3.11 3.54 2.75 2.82
2013 Q1 3.05 3.12 3.56 2.81 2.83
2013 Q2 3.06 3.16 3.63 2.92 2.83
2013 Q3 3.11 3.16 3.60 2.91 2.70
2013 Q4 2.99 3.21 3.64 2.79 2.82
2014 Q1 3.09 3.24 3.68 2.85 3.08
2014 Q2 3.10 3.26 3.72 3.02 3.12
2014 Q3 3.05 3.27 3.72 2.91 3.12
2014 Q4 3.16 3.42 3.78 3.13 2.96
2015 Q1 3.30 3.45 3.76 3.01 2.81
2015 Q2 3.24 3.37 3.79 3.10 2.70
2015 Q3 3.33 3.42 3.81 3.08 2.74

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • for the period January to March 2011 through to July to September 2015, the average number of reoffences committed per reoffender increased across all ethnic groups
  • White reoffenders consistently had the highest average number of reoffences
  • the biggest increase in the average number of reoffences committed in this period was for Asian reoffenders
  • these results should not be compared with estimates from October to December 2015 because the data sources differ

Methodology

Methodology

A proven reoffence is defined as any offence committed within 12 months of release, conviction or caution that leads to a subsequent court conviction, caution, reprimand or warning within the 12 months or within a further six month waiting period 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).

A certain proportion of offenders who could not be matched to the PNC were excluded from the estimates. Therefore, these numbers do not represent all proven offenders. Administrative data sources have been reported as recorded and as such, some inherent inaccuracy may exist.

There are 2 sets of data for this measure:

  • data from the period January to March 2011 through the period July to September 2015 are from the Inmate Information System and provide a comparable time series over this period
  • the latest data – for October to December 2015 – are from the established case management system for use by probation services and should not be compared with previous periods

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 data 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

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/proven-reoffending-statistics

Data sources

Source

Race and the criminal justice system 2016

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.

Download the data

Proven reoffending Q1 2001 to Q3 2015 - Spreadsheet (csv) 13 KB

This file contains: Cohort period, Age category, ethnicity, offenders, reoffenders, reoffences, Reoffending rate, Average number of reoffences per reoffender

Proven reoffending Q4 2015 - Spreadsheet (csv) 827 bytes

This file contains: Cohort period, Age category, ethnicity, offenders, reoffenders, reoffences, Reoffending rate, Average number of reoffences per reoffender