Only two out of 10 prisoners reoffend in the decade following their release. That is the main conclusion of an investigation carried out by Penitentiary Institutions, pioneering both for the time it covers and for the number of cases analyzed and that Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska presented this Friday in the Burgos prison. The study analyzes, case by case and not with a sample, what happened to the 19,909 prisoners who finished serving their sentences in 2009 in prisons then dependent on the Interior ―all except those in Catalonia, managed by the Generalitat―. The result is that only 3,978 committed a new crime in the 10 years following their release. The report also allows drawing, for the first time, the profile of the repeat offender: a man between 31 and 50 years old, Spanish nationality, convicted of robbery or theft, and who commits another crime in the three years following his release. The results of the study reveal, according to Grande-Marlaska, that the reintegration programs of Spanish prisons obtain “a very high grade”.
The investigation, carried out by the Observation Penitentiary Center, highlights that in most cases the recidivism occurred shortly after they left prison. Just over half (2,109 offenders) reoffended within the first three years. Thus, in the same year of release, 3.45% did so, and between the first and second year, 4.11%. However, after the seventh year, these percentages do not reach 2%. However, 66% of repeat offenders committed a single crime. The analysis of the data also reveals that the rate of recidivism among women is significantly lower (13.56%) than that of the male population (20.49%). In fact, 94.97% of repeat offenders were men. Almost nine out of 10 had Spanish nationality. The percentage of foreign prisoners who commit crimes again (7.92%) is also significantly lower than that of Spaniards who did so (24.83%).
The recidivism rate decreases once the age of 50 is over. Only 10% of the prisoners located in the range that goes between that age and 70 years returned to crime. Among the septuagenarian prisoners, only five reoffended and none of them were women. On the contrary, between 18 and 30, recidivism rises to 22% and is slightly lower (21.06%) among those between 31 and 50 years of age. However, as this last group is the predominant age group among the inmates who have been part of the study, in absolute figures these represent 64.41% of the total number of repeat offenders.
There are also important differences between those inmates who enjoyed parole at the end of their sentence and those who did not. Among the former, only 12.62% reoffended, 644 of 5,103. However, of those inmates who did not access this prison benefit (12,747), 3,170 reoffended, about one in four. The return to crime rate among the 2,634 people who were released after seeing their prison sentence suspended or replaced by another measure is also very low. Of them, only 164 (6.23%) reoffended.
Finally, those who present a higher rate of criminal repetition in the same crime are prisoners for gender violence (41.60%); against public health (42.48%) and robberies and thefts (76.29%). Although many do not reoffend for the same crime. This is the case of those who ended up in prison for falsehood or for homicides. In both cases, the percentage is below 7%. Below 25% in the reiteration are the perpetrators of crimes of injury (not counting those of gender violence), usurpation, fraud, damage or reception; against public order and crimes against sexual freedom. In an intermediate section, there are those who entered prison for a crime against road safety: about one in three who re-enter prison does so for committing a serious traffic offense again.