Recidivism is most common among young men
In 2009, 7,507 individuals were released from the custody of the Irish Prison Service. 3,563 (47.5%) of these re-offended within a three-year period.
This marks a drop from 51% in 2008, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office.
The data also shows the rate at which prisoners re-offend decreases with age. 55% of under-21s committed another offence, compared to only 27% of over-51s.
Recidivism is also higher for men than women, with men re-offending at a rate of 48% and women 41%.
Rates were lowest for those initially imprisoned for Sexual Offences (21%) and Fraud, Deception and Related Offences (27%).
Those jailed for Burglary and Related Offences (69%), Offences against Government, Justice Procedures and Organisation of Crime (60%) and Public Order and other Social Code Offences (60%) were most likely to re-offend.
A significant majority (65%) of re-offenders did so in the first six months after their release
The CSO suggests a degree of caution in interpreting the figures - Recidivism is based on recorded offences, but not all offences reported to the Gardai are recorded on PULSE. As a result, it is possible that the rate of recidivism would be higher if the recording gap did not exist.