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Published: 23 September 2022

ARE PEOPLE LIKELY TO COMMIT FURTHER CRIMINAL OFFENCES?

Did you know that most people found guilty of a criminal offence tend to commit further offences within ten years?

Did you know that most people found guilty of a criminal offence tend to commit further offences within ten years?

A new report focuses on the long-term rate of re-offending in NSW.[1] The report followed the re-conviction rates of offenders from 2010 to 2020 and provided fascinating insights.

WHICH OFFENCES DID PEOPLE COMMIT?

The report considered the re-conviction rates for adults and young people and provided a comparison.

If a young person re-offends for the same offence, it is likely to be:

  • Assault
  • Theft
  • Property related

If an adult is convicted again, the offence is likely to be:

  • Theft
  • Breach of an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)
  • Break and Enter
  • Illicit Drug Offences

Once the offence of Break and Enter has been committed, the chance of re-offending increases dramatically. For young people, the recidivism rate is 91% and for adults it is 83%.

If the primary offence was violence, then almost 60% of offenders went on to commit further crimes. However, the second offence is more than likely not going to be violence. Only 39% of second offences were violence related.

CHARACTERISTICS OF RE-OFFENDERS

The report determined the predominant characteristics of re-offenders are:

  • Male
  • Young
  • Aboriginal

In 2010 there were 98,520 offenders convicted, and from this number only 21% were female. The recidivism rate for females is also lower compared to men:

  • 46% for female offenders
  • 57% for male offenders

Young people only made up 5% of the original offenders from the data set in 2010, however they are more likely to be re-convicted than adults. Between 10 to 17 years old, the re-conviction rate is extremely high at 81%. Most of these second convictions are within two years.

For a useful comparison, the recidivism rate for adults is only 54%.

Sadly, the re-conviction rate for Aboriginal people is notably high at 86% being convicted again in a ten-year period. For non-Aboriginal people, the re-conviction rate was only 56%.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

Special courts and programs are being improved and spread across NSW to focus on reducing recidivism. These include Drug Courts, Circle Sentencing and Youth Koori Court.

Some Aboriginal young people are entitled to participate in Youth Koori Court (YKC). This is a twelve-month diversionary program that delivers an Action and Support plan. Each plan is tailored and covers the relevant underlying risk factors. Each offender is under the supervision of case workers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders.

A person’s commitment within the YKC is taken into consideration in the sentencing proceedings held in the NSW Children’s Court. A recent report found that participation in KYC resulted in a reduced risk of imprisonment, without increasing re-offending rates.[2]

You can read more about Youth Koori Court here and here.

At Morrisons we are specialist criminal and traffic lawyers based in Wollongong and the Southern Highlands. If you require advice or representation, you can book an appointment with one of our expert criminal lawyers.

REFERENCES 

[1] NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research – Bureau Brief Number 162: Long-term Re-offending Rates of Adult and Young People in NSW, September 2022

[2] NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research – Bulletin No CJB248: The Impact of the NSW Youth Koori Court on Sentencing and Re-offending Outcomes, April 2022

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We are the only private law firm in the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and South Coast regions with two lawyers recognised as Accredited Specialists in Criminal Law by the NSW Law Society.