Recidivism Rates by Country 2022

Recidivism is described as the relapse of criminal activity that culminates in the re-arrest, reconviction, and/or reimprisonment of a person.

The probabilities of individual retreating are determined by various elements, including the person’s situation before imprisonment, social environment and community, and events during their incarceration.

The individual’s capacity to reintegrate into society is perhaps the most important factor; many recently released ex-prisoners struggle to find a job, reestablish relationships with family, and return to routine activities.

Anyone affected by recidivism feels the effects: the perpetrator and his or her family, law enforcement personnel, the victim, and the community at large.

Recidivism is an essential aspect of many arguments, including crime rates by nation, the severity of jail terms, and whether social initiatives aimed to teach and help instead of punishing offer a better long-term answer than prisons.

Societies with high recidivism rates tend to have bigger jail populations, which places a heavier fiscal burden on society. It is estimated that recidivism rates might be as high as 50% worldwide, and they do not seem to be decreasing.

The difficulty of calculating recidivism rates throughout the globe

It might be difficult to compare recidivism rates between nations. Many nations have limited statistics on the issue, and even among those countries that do monitor it, the definition of recidivism typically changes from one country to the next.

In certain nations, only reimprisonment qualifies as recidivism. Other nations use the recidivism designation earlier, such as when a person is reconvicted or even merely re-arrested. Countries also vary in whether or not they consider some low-level crimes such as misdemeanors, penalties, or traffic offenses.

Additionally, follow-up times—the period following release from incarceration—are typically varied across and even within jurisdictions. If one nation evaluates recidivism using a six-month follow-up period, another uses two years, and a third uses five years, the data cannot be reliably compared.

Recidivism rates for 21 nations throughout the globe

Researchers Seena Fazel and Achim Wolf tracked recidivism rates for follow-up periods ranging from six months to nine years in their study A Systematic Review of Criminal Recidivism Rates Worldwide: Current Difficulties and Recommendation for Best Practice published in PLoS-ONE in 2015 (and revisited in 2019).

Recidivism rates that were monitored included re-arrests, reconvictions, and re-imprisonments. The most typically cited data were 2-year reconviction rates. Information for each nation researched is presented below.

Included are the selection period, follow-up time, rate, and whether the data presented is based on reassignment, indictment, or reincarceration. The likelihood of recidivism tends to rise with time, as can be shown in most nations’ data sets.


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
2 years53%Reconviction2014-15
2 years39%Reimprisonment2009-10
2 years45%Reimprisonment2014-15


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
1 year15%Reconviction2013
2 years26%Reconviction2013
3 years32%Reconviction2013
4 years41%Reconviction2013


RegionFollow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
Canada2 years41%Reconviction1994-95
Canada – Ontario2 years35%Reconviction2014-15
Canada – Quebec2 years55%Reconviction2007-08
Canada – Quebec2 years43%Reimprisonment2007-08


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
2 years39%Reconviction2010
3 years50%Reimprisonment2007


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
1 year51%Reconviction2013
2 years29%Reconviction2005
2 years63%Reconviction2013


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
1 year16%Reconviction2013-14
2 years59%Re-arrest2013-14
2 years35%Reconviction2013-14
5 years76%Re-arrest2011-12
5 years58%Reconviction2011-12


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
2 years36%Reconviction2005


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
1 year26%Reconviction2004
2 years40%Reconviction2004
3 years48%Reconviction2004
4 years54%Reconviction2004
5 years59%Reconviction2002
5 years58%Reconviction2004
5 years46%Reimprisonment2002
6 years61%Reconviction2004


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
3 years48%Reconviction2004
3 years46%Reconviction2007
3 years35%Reimprisonment2004


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
2 years27%Reconviction2005
2 years27%Reconviction2009-11


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
3 years51%Reconviction2013
3 years45%Reconviction2010


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
1 year18%Reimprisonment2008
2 years28%Reimprisonment2008
3 years34%Reimprisonment2008
4 years38%Reimprisonment2008
5 years43%Reimprisonment2004
5 years41%Reimprisonment2008


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
3 years28%Re-arrest2001-09


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
29 months50%Reconviction2009


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
1 year35%Reconviction2013
2 years48%Reconviction2007

New Zealand

Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
6 months18%Reimprisonment2002-03
1 year46%Reconviction2015-16
1 year26%Reimprisonment2002-03
1 year32%Reimprisonment2015-16
2 years61%Reconviction2015-16
2 years37%Reimprisonment2002-03
2 years43%Reimprisonment2015-16
3 years44%Reimprisonment2002-03
4 years49%Reimprisonment2002-03
5 years52%Reimprisonment2002-03


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
2 years20%Reconviction2005


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
2 years27%Reconviction2011

South Korea

Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
3 years24%Reimprisonment2002


Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
2 years43%Reconviction2005

United Kingdom

RegionFollow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
U.K. (England/Wales)1 year46%Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)1 year45%Reconviction2013
U.K. (England/Wales)2 years59%Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)3 years66%Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)4 years70%Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)5 years72%Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)6 years74%Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)7 years76%Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)8 years77%Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)9 years78%Reconviction2000
U.K. (Northern Ireland)6 months9%Reconviction2005
U.K. (Northern Ireland)1 year25%Reconviction2005
U.K. (Northern Ireland)2 years47%Reconviction2005
U.K. (Scotland)1 year46%Reconviction2009-10

United States

Follow-UpRate (%)TypeYears Studied
6 months13%Reconviction2005-10
6 months10%Reimprisonment2005-10
1 year23%Reconviction2005-10
1 year17%Reimprisonment2005-10
2 years36%Reconviction2005-10
2 years29%Reimprisonment2005-10
3 years45%Reconviction2005-10
3 years36%Reimprisonment2005-10
4 years51%Reconviction2005-10
4 years41%Reimprisonment2005-10
5 years55%Reconviction2005-10
5 years45%Reimprisonment2005-10
Australia2 years53Reconviction2014-15
Australia2 years39Reimprisonment2009-10
Australia2 years45Reimprisonment2014-15
Austria1 year15Reconviction2013
Austria2 years26Reconviction2013
Austria3 years32Reconviction2013
Austria4 years36Reconviction2013
Canada2 years41Reconviction1994-95
Canada - Ontario2 years35Reconviction2014-15
Canada - Quebec2 years55Reconviction2007-08
Canada - Quebec2 years43Reimprisonment2007-08
Chile2 years39Reconviction2010
Chile3 years50Reimprisonment2007
Denmark1 years51Reconviction2013
Denmark2 years29Reconviction2005
Denmark2 years63Reconviction2013
Denmark6 months36Reconviction2013
Estonia1 year37Re-arrest2013-14
Estonia1 year16Reconviction2013-14
Estonia2 years59Re-arrest2013-14
Estonia2 years35Reconviction2013-14
Estonia5 years76Re-arrest2011-12
Estonia5 years58Reconviction2011-12
Finland2 years36Reconviction2005
Finland2 years36Reconviction2005
France1 year26Reconviction2004
France2 years40Reconviction2004
France3 years48Reconviction2004
France4 years54Reconviction2004
France5 years59Reconviction2002
France5 years58Reconviction2004
France5 years46Reimprisonment2002
France6 years61Reconviction2004
Germany3 years48Reconviction2004
Germany3 years46Reconviction2007
Germany3 years35Reimprisonment2004
Iceland2 years27Reconviction2005
Iceland2 years27Reconviction2009-11
Ireland3 years51Reconviction2013
Ireland3 years45Reconviction2010
Israel1 year18Reimprisonment2008
Israel2 years28Reimprisonment2008
Israel3 years34Reimprisonment2008
Israel4 years38Reimprisonment2008
Israel5 years43Reimprisonment2004
Israel5 years41Reimprisonment2008
Italy3 years28Re-arrest2001-09
Latvia29 months50Reconviction2009
Netherlands1 year35Reconviction2013
Netherlands2 years48Reconviction2007
New Zealand1 year46Reconviction2015-16
New Zealand1 year26Reimprisonment2002-03
New Zealand1 year32Reimprisonment2015-16
New Zealand2 years61Reconviction2015-16
New Zealand2 years37Reimprisonment2002-03
New Zealand2 years43Reimprisonment2015-16
New Zealand3 years44Reimprisonment2002-03
New Zealand4 years49Reimprisonment2002-03
New Zealand5 years52Reimprisonment2002-03
New Zealand6 months18Reimprisonment2002-03
Norway2 years20Reconviction2005
Singapore2 years27Reconviction2011
South Korea3 years24Reimprisonment2002
Sweden2 years43Reconviction2005
U.K. (England/Wales)1 year46Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)1 year45Reconviction2013
U.K. (England/Wales)2 years59Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)3 years66Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)4 years70Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)5 years72Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)6 years74Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)7 years76Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)8 years77Reconviction2000
U.K. (England/Wales)9 years78Reconviction2000
U.K. (Northern Ireland)1 year25Reconviction2005
U.K. (Northern Ireland)2 years47Reconviction2005
U.K. (Northern Ireland)6 months9Reconviction2005
U.K. (Scotland)1 year46Reconviction2009-10
United States1 year23Reconviction2005-10
United States1 year17Reimprisonment2005-10
United States2 years36Reconviction2005-10
United States2 years29Reimprisonment2005-10
United States3 years45Reconviction2005-10
United States3 years36Reimprisonment2005-10
United States4 years51Reconviction2005-10
United States4 years41Reimprisonment2005-10
United States5 years55Reconviction2005-10
United States5 years45Reimprisonment2005-10
United States6 months13Reconviction2005-10
United States6 months10Reimprisonment2005-10

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