About recidivism

Recidivism is defined in Ontario as a return to provincial correctional supervision on a new conviction within two years of completing either:

  • probation, parole or conditional sentence
  • a provincial jail sentence of six months or more

Recidivism rates

This information is for Ontario only and does not include those in the federal correctional system.

Adult recidivism rates, 2001 to 2015
Year6+ month jail sentencesCommunity supervision
2001/0255.2%21.2%
2002/0349.6%20.8%
2003/0438.7%20.8%
2004/0541.8%21.9%
2005/0645.4%22.7%
2006/0740.5%23.8%
2007/0842.8%24.0%
2008/0944.7%23.4%
2009/1043.5%24.5%
2010/1143.6%23.6%
2011/1243.9%22.3%
2012/1342.9%20.7%
2013/1437.4%21.4%
2014/1534.9%20.7%
2015/1637.0%22.6%

Causes of re-offending

There are certain factors that are associated with risk of re-offending. These include:

  • anti-social attitudes
  • anti-social peers
  • anti-social personality pattern
  • history of anti-social behavior
  • family and marital factors
  • education and employment factors
  • lack of pro-social leisure activities
  • substance use

Offenders that are under community supervision, or serving a provincial jail sentence of more than 90 days, undergo a risk assessment, which can assist in predicting recidivism.

Intervention strategies and techniques are used to address risk factors with a goal of reducing recidivism or chance of re-offending.

Adult releases by assessed risk level

The proportion of higher risk offenders in our population has an impact on our overall recidivism rates. The table shows the large proportion of offenders assessed as being at high or very high risk to re-offend, along with their recidivism rates.

Adult releases by assessed risk level - 2014/15 (most recent year for which data is available)
Assessed Risk LevelInstitutional Releases from 6+ month sentencesCommunity Releases
Number of releasesNumber and percentage re-convictedNumber of releasesNumber and percentage re-convicted
Very low76
(3%)
2
(2.6%)
4,082
(12%)
153
(3.7%)
Low265
(10%)
10
(3.8%)
7,936
(24%)
704
(8.9%)
Medium668
(26%)
113
(16.9%)
11,247
(34%)
2,174
(19.3%)
High934
(36%)
359
(38.4%)
7,139
(22%)
2,654
(37.2%)
Very high667
(26%)
431
(64.6%)
2,484
(8%)
1,411
(56.8%)